Multiple Pressley Proposals Included in House-passed Transportation and Infrastructure Bill

July 2, 2020
Press Release
Transit Justice Amendments and Fare Free Transit Pilot Program Modeled on Rep. Pressley’s Freedom to Move Act Included in H.R. 2 Moving Forward Act

WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) today applauded the House passage of H.R. 2, the Moving Forward Act, which contains several provisions championed by the Congresswoman to address systemic inequities in our infrastructure and transportation systems and create healthier, safer, and more connected communities.

“Our nation’s transportation and infrastructure policies play a critical role in building healthy and safe communities, but for too long they have perpetuated many of our most entrenched inequities,” said Congresswoman Pressley. “We have a mandate to center justice in all of our policymaking, and our infrastructure policies are no exception. The Moving Forward Act provides for much needed and overdue investments in our public transportation systems, will invest in our nation’s housing stock, education and childcare systems as critical infrastructure. I’m glad that the final bill included a number of my priorities, including key investments that center the need for transit equity and justice for all communities—especially those who have historically been left behind.”

The provisions advocated for by Congresswoman Pressley that were included in the final text of the Moving Forward 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 $5 million demonstration grant program is modeled on Rep. Pressley’s Freedom to Move Act, and will support transit agencies that offer reduced fare or fare-free programs for low-income individuals and requires a study of the impacts of these critical programs.
    • 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 and expands the tax exclusion for employer-provided fringe benefits to incentivize bicycle commuting as proposed in Rep. Pressley’s Bicycle Commuter Act. These inclusions were top priorities of the Congressional Bike Caucus, which Rep. Pressley proudly co-chairs.
    • 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.  

 

  • Safe and Affordable Housing as Critical Infrastructure
     
    • Housing as Infrastructure Act: The bill includes bold legislation known as the Housing As Infrastructure Act, of which Rep. Pressley is a co-sponsor. The legislation invests over $100 billion into the nation’s affordable housing infrastructure to support the creation of hundreds of thousands of new affordable housing units and make long-overdue health and safety improvements to our current affordable housing stock.

 

  • Education, Childcare and Healthcare Systems as Critical Infrastructure
     
    • Invests in our Nation’s School Infrastructure:  H.R. 2 includes $130 billion in investments in the school infrastructure needs of high-need schools in order to modernize and improve the health and safety of school buildings so that students and educators have safe learning and working environments. These investments reflect those in the Rebuilding America’s Schools Act, which the Congresswoman supported as an original cosponsor.  
    • Expands Access to High-Speed Broadband Internet: This bill invests $100 billion to expand access to broadband internet in underserved communities and closing the broadband gap for students and low-income families. The Congresswoman has been a tireless advocate for bold investments in broadband access for low-income families and recently joined calls for emergency broadband investments in the most recent COVID-19 relief package.
    • Provides Critical Support to Childcare Facilities and Protects our Essential Childcare Workforce: The bill includes a 5-year, $10 billion emergency investment to support our critical childcare infrastructure. This funding is intended to support the construction, renovation and improvement of facilities to address longstanding issues and to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The robust investments are in line with the emergency funds the Congresswoman has been calling for to support our childcare infrastructure in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis.
    • Investing in our Community Health Centers as Critical  Infrastructure: The bill includes $10 billion in emergency funds for Community Health Centers to help with modernization and construction of new CHCs in high need communities, investments the Congresswoman has long advocated for with House Leadership.

 

  • Clean Water Infrastructure and Climate Justice
     
    • Clean Water as a Human Right: H.R 2 invests over $25 billion to protect access to safe drinking water and makes federal funding to help frontline communities remove PFAS from local water systems more accessible and effective. The Congresswoman most recently joined calls for an economic stimulus that addresses the needs of our clean water infrastructure and wastewater systems in frontline communities.

 

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

  • Require the Federal Government to Examine the Impact of Transportation Policies on Marginalized Communities: This amendment requires the Government Accountability Office to conduct a report analyzing certain transportation policies, including but not limited to, the unfair and excessive enforcement of fare evasion policies and discriminatory placement of surveillance systems and speed cameras, and their  disproportionate impact on Black and Brown and other historically marginalized communities. Watch Congresswoman Pressley discuss the amendment here.
  • Ensure Equitable Access to Housing for Justice Impacted Individuals: This amendment requires the HUD Secretary to conduct a study on the effect of criminal history or involvement with the criminal legal system on access to private and assisted housing.

Last October, Rep. Pressley founded the Future of Transportation Caucus, a Congressional caucus focused on centering equity, access, and sustainability in our transportation systems. Last week, she introduced the Freedom to Move Act, which would provide federal grants to transit agencies that move to a fare-free model. Rep. Pressley also co-chairs the Congressional Bike Caucus.
 

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