Representatives DeSaulnier, Curtis, and McAdams Announce Bipartisan Legislation to Improve Transportation Planning and Decision Making

March 7, 2019
Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, Representatives Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA), John Curtis (R-UT) and Ben McAdams (D-UT) announced the introduction of bipartisan legislation that will promote evidence-based planning decisions on transportation projects. The Connecting Opportunities through Mobility Metrics and Unlocking Transportation Efficiencies (COMMUTE) Act (H.R. 1517) would create a pilot program to use data to drive improvements in transportation access and connectivity.

“Moving the most people efficiently and safely is both a science and an art, and we should rely on data, engineering, and planning to help guide us toward the right approaches to reducing commute times,” said Congressman DeSaulnier. “In the Bay Area in 2016, ten percent of commuters had a super commute— where it takes them at least 90 minutes to get to work. This bill will help to truly modernize and improve our nation’s infrastructure, and connect communities with employment centers, schools, and medical facilities.”

“Quick and efficient transportation is crucial to Utahans, not only because it makes our lives better, but it also positively impacts our environment and economic development,” said Congressman Curtis. “I am proud to co-lead this bipartisan legislation to improve the way we look at transportation options in our communities.”

“Utah is growing rapidly and needs substantial investment in infrastructure to keep people moving safely and efficiently, reducing air pollution and supporting our economy.  It’s common sense to spend those dollars based on the best available data that shows where multiple modes of transportation work seamlessly to get people to work, to school, to shop and back to their homes. A pilot program such as the one proposed in this legislation would be invaluable to transportation planners and local elected officials,” Congressman McAdams.

The COMMUTE Act would establish a pilot program that requires the Department of Transportation (DOT) to provide states, metropolitan planning organizations, and rural planning organizations with data sets measuring the level of access by multiple modes of transportation to specific destinations. These destinations include jobs and areas with a concentration of available jobs, health care facilities, childcare services, educational and workforce training facilities, affordable housing, and food sources. Under the program, DOT would select five eligible states, 10 metropolitan planning organizations, and five rural planning organizations to participate.

"We can’t continue using 20th century tools to gauge the effectiveness of a 21st century transportation system. The COMMUTE Act provides funding to transportation agencies so that they can better measure how well the transportation system connects people with jobs and services. With a clearer understanding of how the transportation system is or is not working for the people who depend on it, communities can better direct public dollars to the most beneficial investments,” said Beth Osborne, Director, Transportation for America.

H.R. 1517 is also supported by the League of American Bicyclists. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Joni Ernst (R-IA) introduced companion legislation in the Senate.