Washington, DC – Today, Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-CA) introduced a package of transportation bills that would ensure federally allocated funds are used for local transportation projects, address transportation safety, and set goals for new public transportation to reach a zero-emission standard.

As a member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, one of my top priorities in Congress is ensuring that communities across the country, like Ventura County, have safe, reliable, and accessible transportation systems,” said Congresswoman Julia Brownley. “As we deal with the devastating impacts that the coronavirus pandemic has wrought on our nation, we have the unique opportunity to advance transportation initiatives that can address the climate crisis, improve safety standards, all while creating more high quality, good paying jobs and strengthen our local economies.”

Support Local Transportation Act

This bill will ensure that more federal transportation dollars are sent directly back to local communities and transportation planners. Specifically, the bill will increase the sub-allocation for local communities under the Surface Transportation Block Grant Program from the current 55% to 61% in Fiscal Year 2022, increasing 1% annually to 65% in Fiscal Year 2026. Local communities can use this flexible funding for a wide-variety of transportation improvement projects, including highways, bridges, pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, and safety improvements, among other uses.

“Sending more federal dollars directly to the local level is the best way that Congress can ensure these resources are spent on local community priorities,” said Congresswoman Julia Brownley. “Local transportation planners and local governments know their communities’ needs best, so it makes sense to give them greater control over how these resources are allocated. These investments can help make our communities more livable and improve transportation options and safety everyone.”

Read the text of the bill, here

The Green Bus Act

This bill establishes a national goal for transit agencies to transition to zero-emission buses by requiring all new buses purchased using federal funds to be zero-emission buses, beginning in 2029. It also increases the federal cost share for zero-emission buses from 80% to 90% to help transit agencies purchase zero-emission buses. It requires the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to issue a best-practices report on zero-emission bus programs to help states and transit operators share lessons learned as transit agencies transition towards zero-emission fleets. It also gives preference to zero-emission bus grant applications under the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) grant programs for transit agencies that have completed full fleet transition plans, as these plans help transit agencies with long-term planning for this infrastructure investment. 

“As a member of the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis and a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, I strongly believe that Congress must take all necessary steps to ensure our nation moves in the right direction to address climate change,” said Congresswoman Julia Brownley. “While 2029 is an ambitious zero-emission bus goal, tackling greenhouse gas emissions can make an immediate and significant impact in protecting our environment. We simply cannot afford to wait to act on climate.” 

Read the text of the bill, here

National Multimodal Freight Network Improvement Act

This legislation will require the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to include ports with annual cargo value of $1 billion or more, like the Port of Hueneme, on the National Multimodal Freight Network (NMFN). The network was established to strengthen economic competitiveness, reduce congestion and bottlenecks, and improve the safety, security, efficiency, and reliability of freight transportation. 

“Small and mid-sized ports, like the Port of Hueneme here in Ventura County, are crucial to the economic vitality of both our region and of markets across the United States and Canada. They handle hundreds of thousands of tons in fruits and vegetables that larger ports cannot process due to the perishable nature of these goods,” said Congresswoman Julia Brownley. “My bill would ensure that ports that move $1 billion or more in annual cargo are included in the National Multimodal Freight Network (NMFM). This will help improve the delivery of goods not only across the country, but across the entire continent. These ports are key drivers for our national economy, and businesses of all shapes and sizes rely upon these ports for goods movement in their supply chains.” 

“The NMFN’s current designation metric fails to account for the economic scale of cargo throughput. By way of example, a one ton vehicle is much higher in value than ten tons of cement. Yet, the current NMFN structure only rewards the weight of the cargo,” said Kristin Decas, CEO & Port Director of the Port of Hueneme. “Congresswoman Brownley’s legislation remedies this shortfall, adding the value metric into the formula. This is important as it is the value which translates into jobs and prosperity for port communities and is core to NMFN designations.”

Read the text of the bill, here

Safe and Friendly for the Environment (SAFE) Streets Act

This bill, co-authored by Congressman Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), would require state and local transportation agencies to conduct an assessment of safety among vulnerable road users, such as non-motorists including pedestrians and bicyclists. The bill would direct more federal funding that the transportation agencies receive towards safety improvements in areas with high numbers of fatalities and serious injuries among pedestrians and bicyclists.

“Making our roads safer for all users is a win-win. Not only will it encourage more people to choose environmentally friendly transportation options, like biking or walking, but even more importantly, these safety investments will save lives,” said Congresswoman Julia Brownley. “Improving pedestrian safety and biker accessibility will also have a tremendous positive impact throughout our neighborhoods and communities, ensuring our children get to and from school safely and improving options for all commuters.”

“We have a duty to ensure the safety of our communities for people of all ages and backgrounds and improving pedestrian safety and biker accessibility are steps we can take today that will continue to have enormous benefits in the future throughout our neighborhoods,” said Representative Adriano Espaillat. “We are introducing the Safe and Friendly for the Environment (SAFE) Streets Act to reiterate the significance of what’s at stake and highlight the efforts that can be implemented to potentially save lives along the way.”

Read the text of the bill, here


Issues: ,