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U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin and Bipartisan Colleagues Introduce Legislation to Improve Transportation Access for Workers and Families

Bipartisan reform expands resources to help solve mobility challenges and boost economic opportunity

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Ed Markey, (D-MA) and Joni Ernst (R-IA) today introduced bipartisan legislation to improve transportation access and help break down barriers for workers and families getting to jobs, local businesses and health care services. The Connecting Opportunities through Mobility Metrics and Unlocking Transportation Efficiencies (COMMUTE) Act provides data to states and local governments to measure accessibility to local businesses and important destinations, and inform investments in transportation systems.

“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. 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.”

“I am honored to cosponsor the COMMUTE Act. 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. We are fortunate to have such a forward-moving transportation sector in Utah and this legislation will support their innovative work,” said Senator Hatch.

“Ensuring our transportation planners are armed with all of the relevant data needed to better connect our communities with employment centers, schools, and medical facilities is an essential component to modernizing and improving our nation’s infrastructure. I thank Senators Baldwin, Hatch, and Ernst for their partnership on this legislation,” said Senator Markey.

“Communities need information about how people commute, in order to plan transportation routes that connect people to jobs and other important locations – especially in rural areas. The COMMUTE Act will help communities receive accessibility data, for transportation planning efforts, so that communities can make smart investments, based on real data,” said Senator Ernst.

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. The bill is supported by Transportation For America.

Data tools can help inform transportation planning decisions about improved access to opportunity for residents—particularly for individuals without reliable access to cars. These new tools allow states and transportation planners to assess changes in access, evaluate how transportation dollars are spent and set targets. Making information about where jobs and other important destinations are located and where transportation access can be made more convenient can better inform locally-driven decisions about how to most effectively invest transportation resources and design with access in mind.

More information about the legislation is available here.