Three design and planning organizations urged Congress to include four necessary elements in pending transportation legislation to make it a successful catalyst for economic growth: (1) dedicated funding for mass transit and federal support for multiple forms of transportation; (2) community planning empowerment and (3) certainty of secure funding.
In an open letter to Congress, the heads of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), The American Planning Association (APA) and the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) said that these three attributes were needed “to create a 21st Century transportation network that not only promotes mobility, but also helps to create and connect thriving communities.”
In legislation now pending before the House and the Senate these core elements are either threatened or non-existent, the groups said.
“A healthy transportation system is about more than just roads and rails: thousands of communities across the country have used programs like Transportation Enhancements and Safe Routes to Schools to integrate active transportation into the fabric of their communities, protect the safety of all transportation users and address some of the environmental impacts of transportation networks,” the letter states. “Moreover, these programs help communities create jobs, often with a smaller initial investment than other infrastructure programs. For more than 20 years a pillar of federal transportation policy has been support for a range of transportation modes.
The letter further states: “The best way the federal government can support state and local transportation policy is by being a reliable partner. This can be achieved only through providing stability in the program through a longer reauthorization and stable sources of funding.”
“We shouldn’t go backward with a new transportation bill,” the letter concludes.
The letter was signed by AIA Executive Vice President and CEO Robert Ivy, FAIA; APA CEO W. Paul Farmer, FAICP and ASLA Executive Vice President and CEO Nancy Somerville, ASLA.
About The American Institute of Architects
For over 150 years, members of the American Institute of Architects have worked with each other and their communities to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings and cityscapes. Members adhere to a code of ethics and professional conduct to ensure the highest standards in professional practice. Embracing their responsibility to serve society, AIA members engage civic and government leaders and the public in helping find needed solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit www.aia.org.
Founded in 1899, ASLA is the national professional association for landscape architects, representing some 16,000 members in 48 professional chapters and 68 student chapters. The Society's mission is to lead, to educate and to participate in the careful stewardship, wise planning and artful design of our cultural and natural environments. Members of the Society use their “ASLA” suffix after their names to denote membership and their commitment to the highest ethical standards of the profession. Learn more about landscape architecture online at www.asla.org.
About the American Planning Association
The American Planning Association is an independent, not-for-profit educational organization that provides leadership in the development of vital communities. APA and its professional institute, the American Institute of Certified Planners, are dedicated to advancing the art, science and profession of good planning -- physical, economic and social -- so as to create communities that offer better choices for where and how people work and live. Members of APA help create communities of lasting value and encourage civic leaders, business interests and citizens to play a meaningful role in creating communities that enrich people's lives. APA has offices in Washington, D.C., and Chicago, Ill. For more information, visit www.planning.org.