DNC Head: Transit “Essential to Our Economic Success”

In the lull following a tumultuous election season, we’ve been keeping an eye on how the new political appointments shake out and what they mean for transit, walking, and biking. With the balance of power in Washington remaining split, it’s been a bit of a mixed bag.

DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz helped Fort Lauderdale secure TIGER funding for "The Wave" Streetcar coming in 2015. Photo: Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons

While the strongest transit supporters in the House of Representatives remain in the minority, one of them apparently occupies a key post within the Democratic Party. Today our friends at Transit Miami point to an encouraging speech from Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Florida), who was recently reappointed to head the Democratic National Committee. Transit Miami blogger and occasional Streetsblog contributor Kathryn Moore had this to say:

Just as the President was making this announcement, Gabriel Lopez-Bernal (founder of TM and now of TranSystems) and I were listening to a promising speech by the Congresswoman at the annual meeting of the Downtown Fort Lauderdale Transportation Management Association, (the non-profit leadership behind the Sun Trolley). [Wasserman-Schultz] told a packed house of transportation officials, private consultants, lobbyists and parking policy wonks that public transit is not only at the center of national policy now, but it “is essential to our economic success.”

Wasserman-Schultz has been integral to the success of City of Fort Lauderdale in securing $18 million in TIGER grant money for ‘the Wave.’ She remarked that everyone should see what the streetcar has down for Portland, Oregon because that is what we should expect for Broward. The fiscal cliff and election cycles have left most of Washington, D.C. silent on the critical needs of our nation’s infrastructure, but Wasserman-Schultz named local bridges in need of repair and livable communities as priorities when she returns to the House Appropriations Committee next term. “We must increase our investment in public transit NOW,” she said.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Baltimore Spokes explains how some proposed legislation in Washington, D.C., would give cyclists greater civil recourse in the event of minor injuries caused by a collision. Urban Milwaukee explains how state tax law undermines Wisconsin’s cities. And Baltimore Velo displays plans for a “bike beltway” in the town of Towson.