A paradigm shift in transportation has begun in Texas. To harness its full potential, we must facilitate a massive mode shift to walking, biking, and transit. This will require success on multiple fronts: Locally, transit planning and advocacy must focus on connecting the most people, jobs, and schools with frequent, quality service. Regionally, planning must incorporate the potential for radical shifts in transit access, including transit-supportive growth.
State transportation funding must be reformed to include direct transit funding for our large metro areas. Additionally, the Texas legislature needs to craft laws to allow Local Option Taxes to develop free market-based regional taxation schemes to fund transit and walkability. As a long term goal, we believe that the majority of state transportation funding should be available to be used for all modes, with allocations based upon ability to achieve broad goals, performance metrics, and inclusive, regional planning processes.
As part of a comprehensive push for better transit planning and more transit funding, we are working to strengthen a statewide network of transit advocates in order to better impact and inform legislation, beginning with the next Texas legislative session in the Spring of 2019: That means we must start building these coalitions now. This includes training local transit advocates with candidate briefings and questionnaires, building coalitions with business, community and nonprofits groups–and finally, providing for direct advocacy work during the session itself.