February 29, 2012

Three Design, Planning Groups Urge Congress to Move Forward on Transportation Legislation

WASHINGTON, DC — Three major design and planning organizations today urged Congress to include four necessary elements in pending transportation legislation to make it a successful catalyst for economic growth:

  1. dedicated funding for mass transit;
  2. federal support for multiple forms of transportation;
  3. community planning empowerment;
  4. certainty of secure funding.

In an open letter to Congress, the heads of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), The American Planning Association (APA), and the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) said that these three attributes were needed "to create a 21st Century transportation network that not only promotes mobility, but also helps to create and connect thriving communities."

In legislation now pending before the House and the Senate these core elements are either threatened or non-existent, the groups said.

"A healthy transportation system is about more than just roads and rails: thousands of communities across the country have used programs like Transportation Enhancements and Safe Routes to Schools to integrate active transportation into the fabric of their communities, protect the safety of all transportation users and address some of the environmental impacts of transportation networks," the letter states. "Moreover, these programs help communities create jobs, often with a smaller initial investment than other infrastructure programs. For more than 20 years a pillar of federal transportation policy has been support for a range of transportation modes.

The letter further states: "The best way the federal government can support state and local transportation policy is by being a reliable partner. This can be achieved only through providing stability in the program through a longer reauthorization and stable sources of funding."

"We shouldn't go backward with a new transportation bill," the letter concludes.

The letter was signed by AIA Executive Vice President and CEO Robert Ivy, FAIA; APA CEO W. Paul Farmer, FAICP; and ASLA Executive Vice President and CEO Nancy Somerville, ASLA.


Denny Johnson, APA Public Affairs; 202-349-1006; djohnson@planning.org

John Schneidawind, AIA; 202-626-7457; johnschneidawind@aia.org