Federal Transportation Reform

Tri-State coordinates the Transportation for America campaign in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. The campaign aims to push the next transportation bill in a new direction that prioritizes transit, smart growth, bicycling and walking, and maintenance and repairs of existing infrastructure before building new roads and highways.


Dangerous By Design - This T4America report, co-authored by TSTC's Michelle Ernst, ranks metropolitan areas based on the relative danger of walking.

Mapping the National Transit Funding Crisis - An interactive map highlighting the hundreds of communities across the U.S. that face service reductions or fare hikes in their transit services.

Articles on federal policy from Mobilizing the Region.

Every 6 years, Congress plays a major role in setting the country’s transportation priorities by determining how hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars can be spent. State and local governments ultimately control their own destiny, but the federal transportation bill directly influences how and where they invest in transportation.

The current $286 billion transportation bill expired in September 2009 and the next multi-year transportation program will cost nearly double the previous amount. To date, our leaders in Washington D.C. have yet to agree on how to pay for our country’s growing infrastructure needs.

In these challenging economic times, we need to ensure that our federal investments yield cheaper, faster, cleaner and safer choices for all Americans.

Our federal priorities include:

Emergency Transit Funding – Since January 2009, 84% of public transit systems have raised fares, cut service or both. Without additional transit funding from Congress in the form of emergency aid or an infrastructure-focused jobs bill, transit service will continue to deteriorate, leaving millions of Americans stuck and stranded, paying higher fares for less service.

Transit Operating Assistance - Currently, only transit agencies in urban areas with less than 200,000 in population may use any federal funds for operating purposes.  All other metropolitan areas may use their federal transit funds only for capital projects (a policy which dates back only to the 1990s.

Complete Streets – Instituting complete streets ensures that all users of the transportation system, including pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users, children, older individuals and individuals with disabilities are able to travel safely and conveniently on and across federally funded streets and highways.

Livability Initiatives – US DOT Secretary Ray LaHood defines livable communities as, “if you don’t want an automobile, you don’t have to have one.” Federal policymakers must connect land use and transportation planning to foster walkable communities instead of sprawl. Recent momentum for the effort has come from both Congress and the White House. 

Energy Bill – The transportation sector is the second largest and fastest growing contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S and the largest user of oil. Any climate change or energy legislation must address the increasing amount that Americans drive, which has grown by three times the rate of population growth over the past 15 years, largely because the vast majority of our communities have beendesigned in ways that give people no other option but to drive everywhere. Increasing fuel economy of vehicles and decreasing carbon content in fuels will not be enough to slow and reverse the growth of transportation’s carbon footprint.

» View all New Approach to Transportation Planning campaigns.