Jun 4, 2020 - Politics & Policy

House Democrats make their move with $500 billion transit proposal

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks during a news conference

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House Democrats unveiled a five-year, roughly $500 billion transportation proposal Wednesday aimed at bolstering mass transit and creating carbon-cutting initiatives.

Why it matters: The bill arrives as mass transit agencies are struggling with a collapse in ridership from the coronavirus pandemic, and facing a tough future as social distancing will require reduced capacity and virus-wary riders may stay away in favor of cars.

The big picture: "Roads would continue to see the lion’s share of the money — some $300 billion. But the bill also provides $165 billion in support for buses, subways and rail, significantly more than the last transportation package passed in 2015," the Washington Post reports.

  • Roll Call, in a detailed piece, notes that the measure also "emphasizes fixing before building" when it comes to roads and highways.

The intrigue: The package also aims to help transportation planners transform streetscapes to be more accommodating of pedestrians, bikers, public transit and more.

  • There's a segment devoted to spurring "complete and context sensitive street design."
  • That's interesting in light of efforts in many cities to at least temporarily make urban streetscapes friendly to socially distant access and restrict car travel.
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