Opinion: Transportation Funding Priorities Are Outdated

Investing in technology and promoting innovation in the transportation sector can further the Biden administration's goals of reducing carbon emissions and improving public transit.

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May 26, 2021, 10:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Bridgeport Rail

rik-shaw / Flickr

Despite the head-spinning advances in technology in the last few decades, write Tiffany Chu and Daniel Ramot in Bloomberg CityLab, "only a small fraction of public transportation budgets are allocated to innovation and technology, lagging significantly behind other sectors." This, argue the authors(who are also "founders of transit technology companies whose software powers public transportation systems in hundreds of cities across the world"), has hindered the development of effective and equitable transit systems. The federal government should, in their opinion, "radically rethink its approach" to transportation funding and support local agencies in implementing innovations that will improve service.

"If we want to make real progress in creating a new vision for American mobility, the Biden Administration and Congress will need to stop funding transportation like it’s the 1980s. It is time to move past our excessive focus on large highway capital projects and remove limitations that constrain how cities and rural communities deploy public transportation." 

Chu and Ramot include several recommendations that they believe can help us "plan smarter transit networks, build safer streets, and launch more nimble services designed to immediately enhance transportation for those who need it most," which include creating dedicated funding to "drive innovation," tying funding to concrete outcomes, and funding transit operations as well as equipment.

Monday, May 17, 2021 in Bloomberg CityLab

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