Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In
Federal Transportation Bill

Transpo Committee Adds Southern Locations to Field Hearing Schedule

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has fleshed out the schedule of its nationwide tour to solicit input on transportation issues. The tour is an opportunity for lawmakers to hear what communities around the country would like to see in a new transportation authorization bill.

Since we published the first, tentative schedule last week, the committee has added several locations in the south: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Jonesboro, Arkansas; and the Memphis metropolitan area.

false

Observers note that the addition of Oklahoma could be an attempt to get the attention of Senator James Inhofe, ranking Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, and that Tennessee is the home state of new Highways and Transit Subcommittee Chair John Duncan, though he’s from the other side of the state. Committee Democrat Steve Cohen is from Memphis, where the hearing will be. Freshman Republican Rick Crawford will play host to the Jonesboro hearing.

Meanwhile, the committee confirms that Senator Barbara Boxer, who chairs the EPW Committee, will be present for the hearing in Los Angeles.

The committee also added a date in Scranton, Pennsylvania (home of Vice President Joe Biden and Dunder Mifflin). Their stop in West Virginia now includes two different locations, 60 miles apart.

“It’s very encouraging that the hearings are happening in a lot of different kinds of metro areas,” said David Goldberg, communications director of Transportation for America – though he did note that the Portland, Oregon/Vancouver, Washington location is now firmly listed as just Vancouver.

“I thought they’d carefully chosen to go to both places,” Goldberg said, “to go to the region people so often cite as one that is being very thoughtful about integrating the various modes of transportation, and their planning and development aspirations – and then Vancouver, which in many ways is emblematic of the transportation challenges this country faces. Vancouver is a place that exists because of sprawl out from Portland, and that grew up very quickly in an auto-dependent way.”

Still, he’s heartened that in the wide variety of locations, from the Chicago area to Philadelphia to Jonesboro, members will hear from communities that “people really do feel like the big era of highway building is done.”

Committee staff denied a rumor going around that all freshman members were required to attend the field hearings, though spokesperson Justin Harclerode said several committee freshmen were eager to host events in their own districts.

Harclerode said lawmakers from the various hearing locations are working on the meeting logistics as well as the roster of invited speakers. After all, this is no open town hall – only community members invited to speak will be allowed to do so.

Advocates are anxiously awaiting information about who is invited to speak (and in some cases, watching their own inboxes for an invitation). “Too often field hearings have been used as cover to rationalize what legislators already wanted to do,” said T4A’s Goldberg. But he’s trying not to be cynical. “We’re optimistic that this will be a genuine, openhearted listening exercise and it will help inform a smarter bill.”

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

SEE IT: How Much (Or How Little) Driving is Going on in America’s Top Metros

Check it out: The lowest-mileage region isn't the one you'd think.

April 21, 2024

Justice Dept., Citing Streetsblog Reporting, Threatens to Sue NYPD Over Cops’ Sidewalk Parking

The city is now facing a major civil rights suit from the Biden Administration if it doesn't eliminate illegal parking by cops and other city workers.

April 19, 2024

What to Say When Someone Claims ‘No One Bikes or Walks in Bad Weather’

Yes, sustainable modes are more vulnerable to bad weather. But that's why we should invest more in them — not less.

April 19, 2024

NYC Transit’s New Operations Planning Chief Wants To Fight ‘Ghost Buses’

One-time transit advocate and current MTA Paratransit VP Chris Pangilinan will oversee bus and subway operations for the whole city.

April 19, 2024

Friday’s Headlines: Gimme Bus Shelter Edition

The days of the Landmarks Preservation Commission reviewing every proposed bus shelter in landmarked districts may be no more. Plus more news.

April 19, 2024
See all posts