The Obama Administration understands that effective transit is absolutely critical to the success of our cities, our metropolitan regions, and our rural communities.We want to move people where they need and want to go; we want to do it in a sustainable way; and we want folks to have real choices.
Look, mobility not only drives our economy; it is part of our way of life. And in the future, transit will have to carry an even greater share of that mobility.
APTA had a nice message for me. (Thanks, everyone!) My message to them had 3 key points:
- Transit is an innovation leader in America;
- DOT is working hard on funding transit; and
- Safety needs to become a greater part of the DOT transit conversation.
- There is no question that public transit is clearly driving mobility innovation in this country.
The reality is that in the future, as we cut back the miles we drive in our personal vehicles, transit must provide an even greater share of American mobility.
So we’ve teamed up with HUD and EPA to create the federal government’s first sustainability partnership. Working together, we’ll coordinate and direct federal investments in transportation, housing, improved air quality, and water infrastructure. This will help ensure that we build more transit near affordable housing, that we combat sprawl, and that we help communities become both more livable and sustainable.
Our work will produce the most profound strategic shift in commuting and travel patterns that we've seen in more than half a century. Efficient, sustainable mobility is an idea whose time has come, and our nation's transit agencies are leading the way.
- The biggest challenge, as always, is funding.
Some of these funds have provided operating assistance for agencies at a critical time, preserving service and keeping workers on the job. Some have kept capital programs on track.
Furthermore, the President and I are determined to work with Congress to pass a transportation bill that funds our priorities. It won’t happen as quickly as we'd like, but it will happen. And when it does, it will streamline federal transportation programs, identify new sustainable funding sources, and attend more carefully to local and regional priorities.
When we're finished, you’ll see that localities and metropolitan regions will have more say and greater flexibility in how federal dollars are spent. That will lead to better outcomes for all Americans.
- Finally, there is one area we cannot overlook, and that’s safety.
So, do we have a lot going on in American transit? You bet. Our future rides on it.