In the context of transit and transportation reform, a just transition could take a few pages from San Francisco MTA’s equity strategy and apply it on a national scale. Unique among US transit agencies, the SFMTA prioritizes transit improvements in disadvantaged communities, rather than distributing funding equally across the city.
Modeled after FDR’s New Deal, the Green New Deal aims to build political support by promising infrastructure projects in every Congressional district. To ensure that a just transition isn’t sacrificed to political imperatives, an equity framework like the SFMTA’s must be applied to the transportation components of a Green New Deal, prioritizing the frontline communities that have borne the brunt of the pollution and disinvestment imposed by highways, but which may not have the most political capital.
Applying an equity lens to the transportation component of the Green New Deal would correct America’s historic bias toward road construction, which spews pollutants into communities of color and forces people into car ownership they can’t afford.
Shifting investment toward transit and walking is better for the planet, and will create huge employment opportunities. Running more buses, constructing and repairing more sidewalks, and building more rail lines in dense, walkable neighborhoods can set us on the path toward a more prosperous and sustainable future shared by all Americans.
Earlier this week, the American Public Transportation Association requested $39.3 billion in relief funding to help transit agencies maintain service and withstand the financial impacts caused by COVID-19. A plan moving through in Congress would reserve about $30 billion for transit. And the Biden administration had earlier proposed $20 billion for transit in the next relief package. What should we make of these different proposals?Read More
Before COVID-19 struck, LA Metro seemed to be turning a corner on bus service with the ambitious network redesign known as NextGen. But the new budget plan signals a return to the days when Metro regularly overlooked the bus riders who make the vast majority of trips on its services.Read More