Senators Launch Bipartisan Effort to Boost Economic Opportunity Through Improved Transportation Access

September 26, 2018 by TWN Staff
Many people's commutes and road trips are made simpler with the invention of electronic tolls. The tolls were first widely used in Norway in the '80s, and the U.S. quickly adapted the time-saving tech. TollTag, North Americaa s first electronic toll collection system, was installed on the Dallas North Tollway in 1989. Illinois' I-Pass and California's FasTrak were launched and the first branch of the northeast's E-ZPass system opened in 1993. (Dreamstime/TNS)

U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Ed Markey (D-MA), and Joni Ernst (R-IA) have joined together to launch a legislative effort to boost economic opportunity for workers and families through improved access to transportation. The senators argue their bill, “Connecting Opportunities through Mobility Metrics and Unlocking Transportation Efficiencies (COMMUTE) Act,” would help break down barriers for workers getting to jobs, local businesses, and health care services.

“In Wisconsin and across the country, inadequate or unaffordable transportation options can be a significant barrier to employment and hold potential workers back from joining the workforce and helping grow our economy,” said Senator Baldwin. “At the same time, employers, particularly those located just outside metro areas and in rural communities, may be missing out on potential workers.”

Specifically, the legislation would provide data to state and local governments to measure accessibility to local businesses and important destinations, and inform investments in transportation systems.

“This bipartisan legislation is about investing in better and more efficient transportation so workers and families can get to job hubs, health care services and other important destinations, and keep our Made in Wisconsin economy moving forward,” added Baldwin.

The “COMMUTE Act” requires the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to develop and provide states and transportation planning organizations with data sets measuring the level of access by all modes of transportation to important 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.

“This pilot program will explore a new method to assess the economic efficiency of transportation and land use, ultimately improving the day-to-day lives of the people of Utah and giving them better access to opportunities.,” said Senator Hatch.

More information about the legislation is available here.

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