Guaranteed Transit Funding Lacking in New Infrastructure Bill

Lauded by the administration as a historic amount, the transit funding promised in the revised bill lags far behind projected needs.

Read Time: 2 minutes

August 4, 2021, 6:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Transit Line

Eric Broder Van Dyke / Shutterstock

The inadequate transit funding in the proposed federal infrastructure bill threatens to halt the progress of transit systems in the U.S., "locking in hundreds of billions of dollars for highways while setting transit up for long-term cuts in funding," as reported by Deron Lovaas. Yet despite America's reputation as car-centric, "[i]n 2018 alone we took almost 10 billion trips by bus, train, or other means of travel. And this way of getting around benefits us all, whether we live in cities, suburbs, or rural areas."

Furthermore, transit is crucial to the livelihoods of many. "More than half of riders use transit because they need to (cars are expensive to own and maintain!) or because they want to save money. That means transit is one of the best investments we make in equity. And not just economic equity — 60 percent of riders are Black, Indigenous or People of Color."

Yet funding–particularly guaranteed funding–lags far behind estimated needs. Passing guaranteed transit funding, argues Lovaas, is important because it "is more useful to transit agencies than non-guaranteed funding," allowing them "to plan and finance projects more cost-effectively," and because "[i]f transit loses ground in this round of negotiations, the starting line for transit next time around will be even farther from where it needs to be." According to Lovaas, "[n]ow is the time to take a leap forward by sticking with the deal in place since 1982 and delivering a boost to transit investment on top of it, not taking a big step back."

Sunday, July 25, 2021 in CleanTechnica

Chicago Commute

The Right to Mobility

As we consider how to decarbonize transportation, preserving mobility, especially for lower- and middle-income people, must be a priority.

January 26, 2023 - Angie Schmitt

Aerial view of Bend, Oregon with river and old mill district

Bend Eliminates Parking Minimums

The city is complying with an Oregon state mandate that some cities have challenged in court.

January 20, 2023 - KTVZ

Aerial view of dense single-family homes in neighborhood still under construction

How Virginia Counties Use Zoning to Stifle Development

Some state legislators are proposing action at the state level as counties block development using zoning and development requirements even as housing prices rise sharply in the region.

January 23, 2023 - The Virginia Mercury

Two buses pull up to a station on a snowy day.

Increased Service, Employer Tax Breaks Entice Transit Ridership in Montgomery County

Montgomery County, Maryland transit planners are hoping workers returning to the office in 2023 will rediscover the benefits of a public transit commute.

12 minutes ago - Bethesda Magazine

New York City skyline with construction cranes in foreground

NYC Mayor Adams Proposes Ambitious Housing Agenda in State of the City Address

Housing is one of four “pillars” proposed by Mayor Eric Adams in his “Working People’s Agenda.”

1 hour ago - NYC Office of the Mayor

Aerial view of Ogden, Utah with Wasatch Mountains in the background

Utah Could Eliminate Parking Requirements Near Transit

A proposed state bill would bar cities from requiring parking in areas adjacent to transit stations in an effort to make housing production more affordable and encourage walking and transit use.

January 29 - The Salt Lake Tribune