In February 2009, Public Advocates joined civil rights and environmental justice groups across the country in launching a national campaign targeting the Congressional reauthorization of the six-year federal surface transportation spending bill. Through the Transit Riders for Public Transportation (TRPT) campaign, coordinated by the Labor/Community Strategy Center in Los Angeles, we are calling on Congress to dramatically curb greenhouse gas emissions and meet the vital transit needs of low-income communities of color by dedicating 80% of federal funding to public transit and 20% to highway maintenance – a flip of the existing funding formula.
Two of our primary policy objectives are to restore desperately-needed federal subsidies to operate transit service in urban areas, and to reinstate access to the courts for communities of color that disproportionate suffer from transportation-related harms, such as inequitable investments, displacement, and adverse health and economic impacts.
In collaboration with our national allies, we have drawn national attention to the need for flexibility in federal funding, so that ailing transit agencies in urban areas can use a portion of their federal grants to operate transit service. We have also built strong momentum with key members of Congress and national civil rights advocates for stronger enforcement of non-discrimination protections in transportation spending.