Business groups call for the federal government to improve and expand public transportation
Duluth, Georgia – May 21, 2019 – Twenty-five chambers of commerce and other organizations representing local business interests are launching Chambers for Transit, a national coalition calling for more and better public transportation to help support strong local economies. These chambers from Reno to Orlando to Pittsburgh are urgently recommending strong federal support for transit as congressional leaders and the White House discuss future transportation investments.
Chambers for Transit is just the latest example of business-minded groups calling for greater federal support for transit infrastructure to keep regional and national economies growing.
“Transit expansion helps with two of our key priorities: increasing access to jobs and improving economic mobility,” said Dave Williams, Vice President for Infrastructure and Government Affairs for the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, a member of Chambers for Transit. “Expanding transit in metro Atlanta is an absolute imperative. Our roads are congested today, and we’re going to add over 2.5 million people in the next 20 years, mostly in our existing suburbs. We have to provide our residents with more transportation options to access employment centers, healthcare, education and other community institutions.”
“In communities large and small, local business leaders are clamoring for investment in public transportation because they see it as a key strategy for attracting a talented workforce and improving access to jobs to help their economies thrive,” said Transportation for America Director Beth Osborne. “That’s why so many local business associations are stepping up to join Chambers for Transit and make the case to Congress and decision-makers in their own communities.
The importance of robust public transit is clear. Core Values: Why American Companies are Moving Downtown showed that walkability and transit access are key to attracting businesses and talent. The Amazon HQ2 search was just the latest example: “access to mass transit” was one of the core preferences in Amazon’s request for proposals. From Kansas City where the business community rallied around the downtown streetcar to Indianapolis where the business community led the effort to build out a network of bus rapid transit lines, local business groups are keenly aware of how important transit is to their economic success.
“As Utah’s population continues to grow, transit is more important than ever,” said Derek Miller, President & CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber. “The availability of high-quality transit in our communities directly correlates with Utah’s economic success, business-friendly climate, and high quality of life.”
“In Snohomish County our community has seen some of the largest growth in the U.S. over the past several years. While our infrastructure remains heavily reliant on single occupancy cars, we recognize the importance of transit’s role as there is a finite amount of room left to build more capacity through additional roads,” said Patrick Pierce, President and CEO of Economic Alliance Snohomish County. “To build a working transportation system for the future we must think beyond traditional modes of transportation and pull out as many tools out of the toolbox as possible to ensure we meet the needs of our growth into the years ahead.”
“I believe transit is a powerful catalyst for inclusion, connecting people to employment, education, and daily necessities,” said Mark Fisher, Chief Policy Officer of the Indy Chamber. “It’s not just helping people leave their neighborhoods for these things, but bringing new investment to the areas that desperately need it. Transit means empowerment and that is a motivating tool for the Indianapolis region.”
“The Newark region and others across the country are centers of commerce that form the backbone of the nation’s economy. Transportation investment, including roads and mass transit, is key to our economic competitiveness and growth. This is especially important in the global marketplace where all of our cities compete with regions around the world,” said Chip Hallock, President and CEO of the Newark Regional Business Partnership. “We are proud to join Transportation for America and chambers across the nation to advocate for critical investment in our future.
“The Dallas Regional Chamber supports local, state, and federal investment in transportation and infrastructure, including capitalizing on public-private partnerships,” said Priscilla Camacho, SVP of Public Policy at the Dallas Regional Chamber. “We support infrastructure initiatives that improve safe mobility, diversify modes of transit, and enhance the quality of life throughout the North Texas region.”
“The Greater Phoenix Chamber supports the development and maintenance of a balanced and cost-efficient transportation system that involves all modes of transportation that improves safety, mobility, and connectivity, and reduces congestion for the region’s employers, goods, residents, and visitors alike,” said Mike Huckins, Vice President of Government Affairs for the Greater Phoenix Chamber.
Business groups of all stripes understand that roads alone simply aren’t enough; public transportation is an essential part of our nation’s infrastructure. In the coming months, Chambers for Transit will take their call for greater federal support for transit directly to members of Congress both on Capitol Hill and back home in their districts.
The full list of members of Chambers for Transit as of May 21 is below. The current list can always be found at t4america.org/chambers4transit/.
Business for a Better Portland – Portland, OR
Central Atlanta Progress – Atlanta, GA
Cobb Chamber of Commerce – Marietta, GA
Dallas Regional Chamber – Dallas, TX
Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce – Denver, CO
Downtown Seattle Association – Seattle, WA
East Metro Strong – Saint Paul, MN
Economic Alliance Snohomish County – Everett, WA
Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce – Eugene, OR
Greater Phoenix Chamber – Phoenix, AZ
Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce – Pittsburgh, PA
Gwinnett Place CID – Duluth, GA
Indy Chamber – Indianapolis, IN
Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce – Atlanta, GA
Minneapolis Regional Chamber – Minneapolis, MN
Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce – Nashville, TN
Newark Regional Business Partnership – Newark, NJ
Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce – Tysons, VA
Orlando Economic Partnership – Orlando, FL
Portland Business Alliance – Portland, OR
Reno + Sparks Chamber of Commerce – Reno, NV
Salt Lake Chamber – Salt Lake City, UT
Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce – Seattle, WA
Sugarloaf CID – Duluth, GA
Westside Economic Alliance – Portland, OR