Congressional Leaders Welcome Report Highlighting Model Transit Projects for Transportation Bill

April 23, 2009


Sean Crowley, 202-572-3331,
Dan Cronin, 202-572-3354, 
(Washington, DC – April 23, 2009) Transportation leaders from both houses of Congress today welcomed a new report for showcasing a new generation of innovative transit systems. The report is timely because the six-year federal transportation bill, which sustains transportation initiatives like these transit projects across America, expires September 30, and will be the subject of near-term congressional action.
The report, Reinventing Transit: American communities finding smarter, cleaner, faster transportation solutions, cites transit innovations already operating in 45 metropolitan, suburban and rural communities in 30 states across America that are creating jobs, cutting traffic congestion, and reducing air and global warming pollution. It also provides case studies of more than a dozen of these transit innovations. Transportation — primarily cars and trucks — accounts for 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.
The Acting Deputy Administrator of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), Matthew J. Welbes and Congressman Earl Blumenauer, Portland (OR) spoke at a Capitol Hill news conference/webcast today to unveil the video and written version of the report, produced by Environmental Defense Fund and cosponsored by the American Public Transportation Association, Building America’s Future and Transportation for America.
“Reinventing Transit provides a roadmap that links metropolitan, suburban and rural commuters in Connecticut and across the country to their current and future jobs,” said Senator Dodd, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, which has jurisdiction over transit (Senator Dodd was scheduled to attend the news conference, but had to cancel because of an 11th hour scheduling conflict). “The extraordinary demand and response to these innovations shows that Americans welcome transit when it’s fast and convenient.”
“Reinventing Transit makes the case that reinventing the transportation bill to fund transit innovations in Minnesota and nationwide will deliver new jobs, new connections to jobs and economic development for communities of all sizes,” said Congressman Oberstar, who ironically missed the news conference because he was stuck in Washington, DC’s notorious gridlock. “Given our economic and environmental challenges, ‘business as usual’ transportation investments are not good enough. Reinventing Transit sets the standard for transit investments in the upcoming transportation bill to fuel America’s economic recovery.”
Brief case studies of 10 of the innovative public transit systems highlighted in Reinventing Transit include:
  • Chicago, Illinois:  The McDonald’s CycleCenter is an essential part of MillenniumPark, with 300 secure indoor parking spaces for bicycles, showers, lockers, bike repair services and solar panels.
  • Connecticut: Statewide van pool service for commuters that offers more than 300 routes transporting 3,000 riders daily and even goes into New York, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts.
  • *Kings County, California: Van pool service that ensures access to schools, jobs and medical services and reduces air pollution in this heavily polluted, yet very rural San JoaquinValley.
  • *Los Angeles, California: Bus rapid transit that connects the residents and employment centers of San Fernando Valley with the end point of LA’s main highway in North Hollywood, and reduces traffic.
  • *Manassas/Prince William County, Virginia: Flexible bus route system that uses modern global positioning technology (GPS) to pick up passengers up to ¾ mile off route in this exurban area.
  • *Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota: Operating on highway shoulders reconstructed for bus use, Metro Transit riders can safely zip past stalled traffic, saving people time and frustration.
  • Mobile, Alabama: Shuttle service that picks up people at home and brings them downtown and back.
  • *Orlando, Florida: Bus rapid transit system that has helped spur development of five new downtown office buildings (each 1 million square feet) and six new apartment communities.
  • Eugene, Oregon: The bus rapid transit line called EmX features hybrid buses with a dedicated bus lane and a partnership with local universities and schools to provide low-cost service to students.
  • Portland, Oregon: Streetcar system serves 13,000 riders daily, cutting traffic, pollution and spurring economic development and a new local industry manufacturing streetcars at Oregon Iron Works.
*TV stations: You can obtain an electronic press kit of these five transit projects (including raw footage with soundbites from transit operators, users and EDF transportation experts) at
“Our national transportation policy should be supporting exactly the kinds of innovations found in Reinventing Transit, so innovative transit technology is not an exception, but a routine occurrence in communities of all sizes,” said Congressman Blumenauer, the Vice Chairman of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.  “These technologies have proven their power to reduce gridlock as well as greenhouse gas emissions, while at the same time increasing quality of life for communities in Oregon and around the country.  I hope that Congress can promote these technologies in the climate legislation and transportation reauthorization currently under consideration.”
“Reinventing Transit demonstrates how communities of all sizes have implemented cutting edge transit quickly and cost-effectively to meet their specific needs,” said Michael Replogle, a civil engineer, transportation director for Environmental Defense Fund and a former transportation coordinator for Montgomery County, Maryland. “Now it’s time for Congress to boost opportunities for similar transportation investments through the upcoming transportation bill, and hold states and regions accountable for spending funds wisely to revitalize our economy, cut traffic congestion, and reduce air and global warming pollution.”
To see detailed case studies of the 10 transit projects cited above, case studies of three other transit projects, the video or print version of the report, or our new Reinventing Transit blog, go to