WASHINGTON — Today, United States Congresswoman Carolyn Bourdeaux (GA-07), Congressman Carlos Gimenez (FL-26), and Congresswoman Lucy McBath (GA-06) introduced the bipartisan Build Up the Suburbs (BUS) Act, legislation which would expand funding eligibility for flexible transit options, including Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and Express Lane Transit (ELT). Both BRT and ELT utilize existing infrastructure to link metro areas with the inner and outer suburbs, providing critical transit services for areas without the density to support fixed rail transit. The BUS Act is endorsed by the Community Transportation Association of America and Chairwoman Nicole Love Hendrickson of the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners.
Under existing federal law, ELT projects are ineligible for the major funding (New Starts) necessary to build large transit projects, but are also ineligible for smaller funding (Small Starts) programs due to the scope of these projects. The BUS Act would amend both programs to ensure more funding is available for bus rapid transit routes and give priority to highway projects including transit options.
“ELT and BRT routes are smart ways to improve existing infrastructure, allowing inner and outer suburbs to connect to metro areas without putting more cars on the road. Currently, however, it is difficult for these projects to secure federal funding, as they are often too small to qualify for New Starts funding but too large to be eligible for Small Starts funding. The BUS Act would expand the eligibility for funding through these programs and encourages the Secretary of Transportation to prioritize projects with varied public transportation components. I thank Congressman Gimenez and Congresswoman McBath for joining me on this important effort to FutureFit our suburbs,” said Congresswoman Bourdeaux.
“This legislation to help local transportation agencies receive robust transit funding will play a significant role in spurring economic development in my home state of Florida. As former Mayor of Miami-Dade County, who had to oversee the procurement of transit funds and the implementation of these project programs, I know firsthand this legislation will help local communities overcome mobility barriers. Most Floridians live in suburban communities, making mobility between the suburbs and major urban centers crucial in handling our state’s continuing economic and population growth. I thank my colleagues for helping move this important legislation forward,” said Congressman Gimenez.
“As our community continues to grow and thrive, it is as important as ever that we continue to make travel along our roadways as safe, as fast, and as easy as possible. I am proud to support a bill that will uplift our transportation infrastructure, provide critical transit services for Georgia’s families, and build the modern highways of the 21st century,” said Congresswoman McBath.
“The Build Up the Suburbs Act will result in needed changes to present programmatic restrictions and will encourage multi-modal components to be incorporated into roadway projects. The future state of our built infrastructure will include a transportation network that is more equitable, efficient, and environmentally sensitive,” said Chairwoman Hendrickson.
“CTAA supports the BUS Act’s efforts to expand the applicability of bus rapid transit (BRT) innovations and the small starts portion of the Capital Investment Grants program. Express Lane Transit is an important component in improving transportation services for many Americans and should be eligible for BRT projects,” said Scott Bogren, Executive Director, Community Transportation Association of America.
The BUS Act was introduced as part of Congresswoman Bourdeaux’s FutureFit The Suburbs initiative, focusing on the infrastructure needs of inner and outer suburbs. The initial launch contains four planks: the National & Regional Greenways Act, the Build Up the Suburbs (BUS) Act, an initiative on Abandoned Mall Upcycling, and an initiative on a National Infrastructure Bank.
Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux lives with her family in Suwanee, Georgia and represents Georgia’s 7th Congressional District in the 117th Congress. Carolyn is a strong advocate for affordable health care, an economic recovery that puts workers and small businesses first, and investing in her district’s world-class public education system and transportation infrastructure.
Georgia’s fast-changing 7th Congressional District includes portions of the northeast Atlanta metropolitan area, including portions of Forsyth and Gwinnett counties and cities Peachtree Corners, Berkeley Lake, Sugar Hill, Norcross, Cumming, Lawrenceville, Duluth, Snellville, Lilburn, Suwanee, Grayson, and Buford.