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April 7, 2020

Rep. Pressley, García, and Takano Introduce Bills to Improve Access to Jobs and Services

WASHINGTON – Today, Future of Transportation Caucus Co-Chairs Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) and Congressmen Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04) and Mark Takano (CA-41) introduced two bills in line with the principles of the Caucus: the Improving Access to Jobs Act and the Improving Access to Services Act. Together, these bills would prioritize shorter, safer, and more efficient transportation to employment options and services by measuring travel times, travel stress for cyclists and pedestrians, and cost for low-income travelers. Ensuring bike, pedestrian, and transit options are adequately considered when investing in transportation projects will also help mitigate congestion and reduce carbon emissions from the transportation sector.

“For too long, our underfunded and crumbling public transit systems have perpetuated deeply entrenched inequities and disparities in our communities– exacerbating challenges that our most vulnerable communities already face in accessing essential services like school, employment opportunities and healthcare,” said Congresswoman Pressley. “For example, in the Massachusetts 7th, Black bus riders spend 64 hours more per year waiting, riding and transferring buses than white bus riders. The Improving Access to Jobs Act and the Improving Access to Services Act will help to ensure that our transportation investments help to diminish these disparities and reverse them for good. Now is the time to make our transit system a vehicle for change that connects all communities and promotes well-being for all.”

“All Americans deserve safe and convenient access from their homes to jobs and essential services like health care, child care, and education,” said Rep. García. “Our transportation systems are failing Americans who face growing congestion, roads and transit systems in disrepair, and long-standing inequities that disproportionately hurt marginalized communities. Chicago residents continue to face longer and more congested commutes to work and school and end up footing the bill for expensive car repairs, gas, and transit fares. Any future transportation policies must make smarter investments to improve access, cut travel times, and lower the financial barriers to mobility for all.

“Most workers in the Inland Empire face long and costly commutes, which disproportionately affect communities of color in my district,” said Rep. Mark Takano. “This legislation prioritizes safe, affordable, and convenient access to jobs and services by instructing states to assess how their transportation system functions and prioritize equitable access for every community. By requiring city planners to keep these factors in mind, we can help improve access to jobs and essential services for every worker and every family in the Inland Empire and across the country.”

The text of the Improving Access to Services Act can be found here, and bill text for the Improving Access to Jobs Act is here.

The bills are supported by: Transportation for America (T4A), Sierra Club, National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), Environmental Law and Policy Center (ELPC), Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.

In addition to Representatives Pressley, García, and Takano, both bills are co-sponsored by Representatives Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-CA), Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Jahana Hayes (D-CT), Bobby L. Rush (D-IL), Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ), and Darren Soto (D-FL).

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