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Waters, Carson, Ellison, Grijalva, and Quigley Applaud Transportation Accessibility Performance Measure in THUD

May 25, 2016
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Reps. Maxine Waters (CA-43), André Carson (IN-07), Keith Ellison (MN-05), Raúl Grijalva (AZ-03), and Mike Quigley (IL-05) applaud the inclusion of language encouraging the establishment of an “accessibility performance measure” in the report to accompany the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2017, which was passed by the Appropriations Committee yesterday. 

The report encourages the Secretary of Transportation, in coordination with the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration, “to establish an accessibility performance measure to be available to states, metropolitan planning organizations, and transit agencies to assess the degree to which the transportation system, including public transportation, provides multimodal connections to economic opportunities, including job concentration areas, health care services, child care services, and education and workforce training services, particularly for disadvantaged populations.”

Congresswoman Waters, Ranking Member of the Financial Services Committee, said:

“I applaud the Appropriations Committee’s inclusion of an accessibility performance measure in the FY 2017 THUD report, and I look forward to using this measure to improve the accessibility of our nation’s transportation system, especially for disadvantaged populations in need of access to job opportunities and community services.”

Congressman Carson, Ranking Member of the Transportation Subcommittee on Economic Development, said:

“I commend my colleagues on the Appropriations Committee for including this vital performance measure to help ensure that economically distressed communities are not left behind in transportation developments. After offering the original Carson-Waters transportation equity provisions in Committee, which were approved by the full House, I look forward to seeing this measure signed into law.”

Congressman Ellison, Co-Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said:

“Too many Americans are left behind because they are unable to get around, whether it’s to a job interview, a day care center, or a classroom. We can help these Americans by creating more affordable, accessible transportation options. Doing so will help reduce poverty and unemployment, and ease the financial burdens on working Americans and their families. I’m pleased that the Appropriations Committee has included our accessibility performance measure in THUD, and hope it will be included in the final language.”

Congressman Grijalva, Co-Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said:

“An investment in transportation is also an investment in new opportunities for any community involved. These funds have the power to fix crumbling roads and help fight poverty at the same time, but only if we insist on them targeting the communities that need them most. The accessibility performance measure in the FY2017 THUD report will do just that, and I applaud its inclusion.”

Congressman Quigley, member of the THUD Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee, said:

“Public transit improves the quality of life for people in Chicago and around the country by making cities more accessible, livable, and environmentally friendly. The inclusion of an accessibility performance measure in the Fiscal Year 2017 THUD report is a great step forward for families and communities that depend on public transportation for access to childcare, jobs, fresh food and more. I’m proud to have worked with my friends in the Progressive Caucus on this important issue, and will continue pushing for increased public transit accessibility through my role on the House Appropriations Committee.”

The five Members of Congress had sent a joint letter to the Appropriations Committee on March 17, 2016, requesting the inclusion of report language facilitating the establishment of an accessibility performance measure.  The Members said in their letter:

“Transportation networks play a critical role in connecting people to employment opportunities and providing safe, affordable access to essential goods and services, such as health care facilities, child care services, education and workforce training services, financial institutions, and grocery stores.  Access to employment opportunities and essential goods and services is especially critical for communities of color, low-income families and people with disabilities.”

On October 9, 2015, Congresswoman Waters introduced H.R. 3740, the Integrated Transportation and Economic Development Act, which would have established a performance measure to assess road conditions in economically distressed urban communities.  Congressman Carson offered an amendment to include the text of Congresswoman Waters’ bill in the House version of the surface transportation reauthorization bill during its consideration by the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on October 22, 2015.  The Carson-Waters amendment was adopted by the committee and included in the House bill but omitted from the conference report.

On October 21, 2015, Congressman Ellison and Congressman Grijalva introduced the Mobility, Opportunity, and Vocation Enabling (MOVE) Act, which would have directed the Secretary of Transportation to develop performance measures for assessing transportation connectivity and accessibility for highway and public transportation systems.

Congressman Quigley has been a strong supporter of transportation accessibility within the Appropriations Committee.