It looks like President Obama and his administration kept most of the great ideas explored with the Grow America Act, last year's transportation initiative.
The total investment is increased to $478 billion and expanded to six years in the latest iteration of the budget released yesterday.
A few of the best pieces for low-income communities include:
- Much more money for transit ($29 billion or a 76 percent increase over six years), changing the age old 80/20 highway/transit split.
- $369 million in job training dollars.
- Minorities and women would get a boost to enter good paying construction sector jobs.
- Outdated local hire prohibitions would be modified.
- State Departments of Transportation would create workforce plans to move diverse workers into jobs and job training.
- The innovative TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) program would be funded at a $1.25 billion level.
And the Transportation Equity Network (TEN) will be watching a few pieces:
- Increasing use of Public Private Partnerships, which could lead to a lack of public accountability.
- The proposed Infrastructure Bank must have workforce diversity requirements attached.
- New rail dollars need to include minorities, people with disabilities and women, as contractors and as workers in both the construction and operation phase of their development.
- Any increase in regressive taxes, such as the gas tax must include a give back for low income people, such as an increase in Earned Income Tax Credits, particularly for low income, rural commuters.
(Photo: #BlackLivesMatter protest on the steps of the Thomas Eagleton federal courthouse in downtown St. Louis, courtesy of Laura Barrett)