Introduction of the District of Columbia Transportation Funding Equality Act

Floor Speech

Date: Dec. 7, 2021
Location: Washington, DC


Ms. NORTON. Madam Speaker, I rise to introduce the District of Columbia Transportation Funding Equality Act. This bill would make the District of Columbia eligible for two federal programs that support the development and revitalization of public transportation systems in the same manner that states are currently eligible for these programs. D.C. residents pay the same federal taxes as residents of the states, and D.C. should be treated as a state in federal programs.

First, the bill would treat D.C. as a state in the High-Density States Formula for certain grants from the Mass Transit Account of the Highway Trust Fund. Currently, only states are eligible for these grants. Second, the bill would treat D.C. as a state under the Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities program. Currently, each state is authorized to receive $1.75 million annually and each of D.C. and the territories are authorized to receive $500,000 annually.

The programs in the bill fund the modernization of bus and rail fleets, the purchase of zero-emission transit vehicles, the improvement of station accessibility for all users and the extension of transit service to new communities. They especially benefit communities of color, since these households are twice as likely to use public transportation.

The House-passed surface transportation reauthorization act, the INVEST in America Act, would have made D.C. eligible for these two programs in the same manner as states. Unfortunately, the enacted surface transportation reauthorization act, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which the Senate wrote, did not.

I urge my colleagues to support this bill to provide funding for effective, efficient and sustainable transportation options for D.C. in same manner as states.