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July 1, 2021

House Passes Surface Transportation Reauthorization Bill with Key Pressley Priorities

WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) today applauded the House passage of the INVEST in America Act, which contains several provisions championed by the Congresswoman and funding for key projects in the Massachusetts 7th district aimed at addressing systemic inequities in our transportation systems and create healthier, safer, and more connected communities.

“We have an opportunity and obligation to make bold investments to root out the systemic inequities plaguing our transportation systems and build healthier, safer, and more connected communities,” said Rep. Pressley. “The Invest in America Act moves us closer to that goal and I’m glad that a number of my priorities were included in this bill, particularly those to make transit more affordable and fund key transportation related projects across the Massachusetts 7th. We’ll keep fighting to move this necessary bill forward until the ink dries on the President’s signature.”

The provisions advocated for by Congresswoman Pressley that were included in the INVEST in America Act include:

  • Robust Investments in Sustainable, Affordable and High-Quality Public Transit

    • Access to Jobs Grant Program to Support Subsidized Transit Fares for Low Income Riders:  This $10 million demonstration grant program is modeled on Rep. Pressley’s Freedom to Move Act, and will support transit agencies that offer reduced fare programs for low-income individuals and requires a study of the impacts of these critical programs as well as the ways in which fare-free transit initiatives will improve transit access to historically marginalized communities.
    • Prioritizes Transportation Projects that Connect People to Jobs and Services: The bill will help ensure transportation investments prioritize improving access to jobs and access to services rather than increased speeds on expanded highways and roads. The inclusion of these priorities was modeled after the Improving Access to Jobs Act and the Improving Access to Services Act introduced by Rep. Pressley. 
    • Supports Bicycle Commuters and Invests in Affordable Bikeshare Projects: The bill allows federal funds to support bikeshare projects modeled after Rep. Pressley’s Bikeshare Transit Act 
    • Supports federal funding for Vision Zero plans: This newly eligible use, modeled on the Vision Zero Act introduced by Rep. Pressley, allows states to use grants from the Surface Transportation Block Grant Program and the Highway Safety Improvement Program to develop and implement Vision Zero Plans.
    • Supports the Expansion of Transit-oriented Community Development: The bill establishes an Office of Transit Supportive Communities to help ensure communities have access to affordable housing near high quality transit hubs. An emphasis on equitable transit-oriented development was a key ask in a letter to House Leadership from Rep. Pressley and the Future of Transportation Caucus.  

In addition to these priorities, two further amendments cosponsored by Rep. Pressley were adopted into the final bill. These amendments will:

  • Commission a Federal Study of Electric Vehicle Charing Stations on Communities of Color: This amendment requires the GAO to conduct a study, over 3 years after enactment, how the installation of electric vehicle charging stations in communities disproportionately impacted by air pollution and high rates of asthma would improve health outcomes.
  • Promote Safety for Vulnerable Road Users: This amendment requires the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to issue a rule for motor vehicle bumpers and hoods to be designed to reduce the impact on vulnerable road users, including pedestrians and cyclists, in the event of a collision with a motor vehicle.

Additionally, Massachusetts 7th Congressional District specific transit projects championed by Congresswoman Pressley that were included in the legislation include:

  • Warren Street/Blue Hill Avenue Multi-modal Corridor Phase 1 – $12,000,000
    Project Sponsor: Massachusetts Department of Transportation
    Location: Columbia Road, Boston, MA 02121
    Description: This project will make improvements focused on transit reliability, safety, climate resiliency, and livability across the multimodal corridor that connects Nubian Square to Mattapan Square through Roxbury, Dorchester, and Mattapan.
  • Ruggles Station State of Good Repair Improvements – $3,000,000
    Project Sponsor: Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority
    Location: 1150 Tremont Street, Roxbury, MA 02120
    Description: The project will ensure the enhancement of pedestrian safety and security by increasing accessibility at the MBTA’s Ruggles Station, which services a dozen intercity bus lines, three high-demand commuter rail lines, one intercity subway line, and Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor service.
  • Route 28/Route 38 Intersection Safety Improvement Project – $3,000,000
    Project Sponsor: City of Somerville
    Location: Route 28 at Route 38, Somerville, MA
    Description: This project will address longstanding safety and accessibility challenges in Somerville’s Winter Hill and East Somerville neighborhoods by designing more pedestrian and bicycle safety treatments.
  • McGrath Highway Road Diet/ Protected Bike Lane Project – $500,000
    Project Sponsor: City of Somerville
    Location: McGrath Highway Road Diet / Protected Bike Lane Project
    Description: The McGrath Highway Road Diet / Protected Bike Lane project is intended to create safe bike facilities along State Route 28 in the City of Somerville.
  • Davis Square Transit Signal Priority Project – $100,000
    Project Sponsor: Massachusetts Department of Transportation
    Location: 1 Davis Square, Somerville, MA
    Description: The project will deliver crucial bus transit infrastructure to improve bus service and reliability for six MBTA bus routes serving Somerville’s Davis Square neighborhood. Traffic signal equipment will be modernized to offer real-time detection of approaching buses and provide green-light privileges to reduce transit passenger delay.

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