2021 presents key opportunities to invest in infrastructure to provide economic stimulus, aid communities in recovery, and connect people to opportunity. This investment must include broadband infrastructure funding and planning. The coronavirus pandemic demonstrated how critical reliable internet access is for workers, students, and all community residents.
Now is the time for a new approach. We must not allow lack of access to reliable transportation or broadband services deny parts of our communities access to employment, education, healthcare, and other services.
Opportunities for Action
We must ensure that transportation and broadband infrastructure investment and planning prioritize community recovery and an equitable future. Specifically, we call on Congress to:
- Fund transportation infrastructure sustainably. Sustainable, reliable transportation funding supports the implementation of planned projects and enables smart planning for long-term recovery. A greater share of funding should be allocated to communities and regions.
- Incorporate critical climate and resiliency planning into the transportation reauthorization. Resilient infrastructure planning reduces cost, uncertainty, and risk and protects communities that have long suffered from environmental injustice.
- Expand support for public transportation, biking, walking, and safety while incorporating critical program reforms
- Fund planning for emerging needs, new technologies, and equitable recovery.
- Incorporate broadband planning and implementation in infrastructure legislation. Broadband is a vital part of investment in an equitable recovery to ensure equal access to jobs, education, healthcare, and opportunity.
- Fully fund THUD infrastructure and development programs.
Planning and Infrastructure
Planners play a significant role in obtaining federal funding, planning, and implementing infrastructure solutions to better serve their communities.
Planners are stepping up to make sure that critical infrastructure development moves forward, even during the pandemic and tightening budgets.
COVID-19 has illustrated that broadband is necessary to be able to access education, to be able to telework, and for access to healthcare and services. (APA Podcast)
Transit agencies are also dealing with slashed budgets, limited federal aid, and even tax subsidies at a time when costs have increased. (Planning, December 2020)
APA's Surface Transportation Policy Guide identifies policy solutions for planners and local, state, and federal elected officials that address the evolving nature of transportation policy and how communities plan for regional transportation options that work for everyone. The guide addresses timely issues — like accessibility, climate change, and Vision Zero — that demand a renewed focus, and how APA members and planners can use the guide as a tool to effect change not only at the regional level but also at the state and federal levels.
In Fall 2020, surface transportation funding was extended one year, making 2021 the year that Capitol Hill needs to tackle infrastructure as part of bolstering the economy, tackling longstanding problems, and setting the foundation for recovery. (APA Blog)
Infrastructure Advocacy in Action
APA signs on to a national letter urging Congress's support for the INVEST Act, which would improve the Transportation Alternatives Program and prioritize the safety of people using transportation. (Policy Letter)