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RNC week: Axios' chief technology correspondent Ina Fried hosted a conversation on the future of how people get around in the era of COVID-19, featuring former Secretary of Transportation and co-chair of Building America's Future Ray LaHood, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Transportation Gia Biagi and League of Cities CEO Clarence Anthony.

Ray LaHood discussed how the efforts to create more sustainable public transit have stalled with COVID-19, and called on the federal government to financially support existing transit systems.

  • On the need for the financial support: "Just as the federal government stepped up for the airlines...there will have to be a huge influx of federal resources in order to sustain transit systems until they can get back to some sort of sort of normalcy in terms of ridership."

Gia Biagi highlighted how COVID-19 has shifted people's mindset about what city streets can look like with fewer cars, and unpacked the existing inequities in Chicago's public transportation system.

  • How micromobility can supplement existing transit in Chicago: "What we're trying to do is connect the dots with micromobility and investments in the actual infrastructure. [Where we're seeing a need] also overlaps where we've seen the effects of structural racism and disinvestment that are fundamentally policy choices that have been made for many years."

Clarence Anthony discussed transit equity in cities, and the need for federal and state support to ensure that people have equal access to public transportation.

  • "What is our role as city leaders? It is to make sure that the equity is brought into the policy and the process and that we demand that all of those services — like ride share and public services — are brought to all communities in an equal way."

Axios VP of Events Kristin Burkhalter hosted a View from the Top segment with Lyft Chief Policy Officer Anthony Foxx, and discussed Lyft's role in the transportation ecosystem and how they're contributing to racial justice efforts.

  • On Lyft's relationship to public transit: "We feel like we're part of the ecosystem. We've never wanted to overtake public transit because we believe public transit is an essential service that only the public can do."

Thank you Lyft for sponsoring this event.

Go deeper

Nov 10, 2020 - Podcasts

Lyft co-founder John Zimmer on what comes next for the gig economy

Gig economy companies like Lyft and Uber got a huge win in California last week, when voters approved a measure that will let them continue to classify many of their workers as independent contractors instead of employees.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the ballot measure and what comes next, both in California and nationally, with Lyft co-founder and President John Zimmer.

Bipartisan group of senators seeks coronavirus stimulus deal

Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine). Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

At least eight Republican and Democratic senators have formed an informal working group aimed at securing new coronavirus spending during the lame-duck session, a move favored by President-elect Biden, two sources familiar with the group tell Axios.

Why it matters: It may be the most significant bipartisan step toward COVID relief in months.

FCC chairman to depart in January

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Ajit Pai will leave his post as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission on Jan. 20, the agency said today.

Why it matters: Pai's Inauguration Day departure is in keeping with agency tradition, and could set up the Biden administration with a 2-1 Democratic majority at the FCC if the Senate fails to confirm another Trump nominee during the lame-duck period.