Call for Renewal of Federal Transportation Legislation
Top officials from more than a dozen local and state transportation agencies are joining together today in San Francisco to show solidarity with the national Stand Up for Transportation campaign. Starting at 1 p.m. at the Temporary Transbay Terminal in downtown San Francisco (located at 200 Main Street), the joint press conference and rally is one of dozens of events taking place today in cities around the country to urge Congress to renew the federal legislation that fuels transportation services and infrastructure.
The national campaign is being steered by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), an organization dedicated to advocating for and advancing public transportation. The organization is calling for reauthorization of the federal transportation funding bill, known as MAP 21 (“Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century”), which is set to expire on May 31.
The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) got into the spirit of the day by wrapping an articulated bus in the red-themed Stand Up for Transportation motif, turning it into a rolling billboard. The bus will appear at a rally at San Jose State University before making its way to serve as a backdrop for the San Francisco press conference and rally. AC Transit and County Connection (serving Central Contra Costa County) are also sending buses filled with supporters — with many showing their support by wearing red.
Emceeing today’s event is Dave Cortese, president of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors and chair of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), which oversees transportation planning, financing and coordination for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area. “It’s long past time for Congress to stop kicking the can down the road and actually solve the Highway Trust Fund problem,” Cortese said. “With the national economy back on track and the Bay Area economy shifting into high gear, our country simply cannot afford to keep doing business this way. We need a surface transportation program that will fuel strong growth for years to come.”
An analysis from APTA shows that the nation faces a $160 billion backlog just to bring public transit and road systems into a state of good repair. More than $227 billion in economic productivity is at risk to the nation’s economy over the next six years without long-term federal investment in public transit, according to APTA.
“It’s time for Congress to set aside partisanship and once again act in the best interest of our country to repair, strengthen and build the nation’s transportation infrastructure,” wrote APTA Chair Phil Washington in a letter to member organizations this week.
Other transportation leaders scheduled to appear at today’s San Francisco press conference include:
- H.E. Christian Peeples, president of the AC Transit Board of Directors;
Arthur L. Dao, executive director of the Alameda County Transportation Commission;
- Nick Josefowitz, San Francisco representative on the BART Board of Directors;
Bijan Sartipi, director of Caltrans District 4;
- Jeff Morales, chief executive officer of the California High-Speed Rail Authority;
- Randell Iwasaki, executive director of the Contra Costa Transportation Authority;
- Denis Mulligan, general manager and chief executive officer for Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District;
- Michael Tree, executive director of the Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority;
- Supervisor Scott Wiener, chair of the San Francisco County Transportation Authority;
- Edward Reiskin, director of transportation for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency;
- Jim Hartnett, executive director of the San Mateo County Transportation Authority (SamTrans);
- Nuria Fernandez, general manager of the Santa Clara VTA; and
- Maria Ayerdi-Kaplan, executive director of the Transbay Joint Powers Authority, which is developing the new Transbay Transit Center in San Francisco.