Photo: Shannon Binns
Last week, Sustain Charlotte joined dozens of sustainability and transit advocacy organizations from around the country in signing a letter to Congressional leaders to ask that they keep the promise of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) throughout the Fiscal Year 2024 appropriations process, especially as it pertains to programs that make transit more affordable and accessible. This important advocacy follows the contentious debt ceiling debate, which jeopardized spending for some government programs, including some public transit funding.
Public transit is critical for economic growth, reduction of air pollution and carbon emissions, mitigating our dependence on foreign oil, and equitable access to essentials like healthcare services, education, and jobs.
What’s at stake
The IIJA gives cities and states the ability to expand public transit options, replace thousands of deficient transit vehicles, including buses, with clean, zero-emission vehicles, and improve accessibility for the elderly and people with disabilities. But Congress must fully fund the programs contained in the bill in order for these things to happen.
Protecting transit grants
In particular, we advocated for funding the Capital Investment Grants Program, a competitive grant that can be used for capital improvements to large and small transit systems, and the Rebuilding America's Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE), National Infrastructure Project Assistance (MEGA), and Active Transportation Infrastructure Investment Program (ATIIP) programs, which support surface transportation projects, safe walking and bike access to transit, and new multimodal transportation options within and between communities.
Public transit is our route to a more prosperous, equitable, healthy, and sustainable future and these investments are essential to providing safe access to transit service.