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Senator Schatz’s Provisions to Support Investment in Communities Near Transit and Promote Safer Streets Adopted by Senate

Washington, D.C. – The expansive six year transportation bill passed today by the Senate includes two provisions introduced by U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i).  The first provision supports investment in transit-oriented development and the second promotes safer streets and communities.

“My transit-oriented development provision will give cities like Honolulu more tools to finance the development of more walkable, bikeable communities near public transit stations,” said Senator Schatz.  “When we use concepts like this, we can increase housing inventory, build safer communities and give working families more transportation options.”

The provision would enable cities like Honolulu to utilize the U.S. DOT Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program to access loans, loan guarantees, and lines of credit to develop better walkable, bikeable communities near transit stations.

“By planning and building roads and communities with more sidewalks, bike paths, bus lanes, and public transit stops, we encourage more transportation options and create safer neighborhoods for families,” said Senator Schatz.  “This provision asks states and community planners to consider the needs of all users – whether it’s a mother walking with her child in a stroller, a student biking to school, or a senior taking the bus to get to the store.”

Specifically, the amendment directs the Department of Transportation, in coordination with states, to establish standards to ensure safe use of our nation’s roads.

The Schatz-Heller bipartisan amendment passed with the support of a number of organizations including AARP, Smart Growth America, LOCUS, the National Complete Streets Coalition, the League of American Bicyclists, and the Safe Routes to School National Partnership. 

“The increase in pedestrian and cyclist fatalities in Nevada and across the nation is concerning, which is why I teamed with Senator Schatz on this important provision,” said U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-Nev.). “Passage of the Highway bill, and subsequently the Safer Streets Amendment, will spur innovative transportation planning throughout the nation that aims to improve bike and pedestrian safety.”

“AARP commends the leadership of Senators Schatz and Heller on this critical safety measure. It is unacceptable that a pedestrian is killed every two hours and suffers an injury every eight minutes,” said Joyce A. Rogers, AARP Senior Vice President of Government Affairs. “This provision would ensure that federal transportation infrastructure investments provide safe travel for all -- whether driving, walking, bicycling, or taking public transportation.”

“If you took a bus or train to work today, you know how convenient it is to live and work near a transit stop,” said Christopher Coes, Director of LOCUS. “Transit-oriented development makes day-to-day life easier for millions of Americans. It’s also the backbone of regional economies across the country. The Senate’s bill will make creating new TOD projects easier, and will give more Americans the option to live and work near transit while also supporting economic growth nationwide.”

“Across the country, Americans are choosing to bike, walk and take transit more and more,” says Caron Whitaker, Vice President of Government Relations at the League of American Bicyclists. “The safety amendment by Senators Schatz and Heller recognize these trends and ensures our roads are safe for everyone.”

“We applaud the leadership of Senators Schatz and Heller for ensuring that the DRIVE Act includes language to ensure that transportation projects are safe for people bicycling and walking,”
said Cass Isidro, Executive Director of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership.  “Their leadership will help keep kids and families safe and healthy on the trip to and from school and ensure that their safety is addressed in transportation planning.”


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