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Alum Testifies to Congress to Invest more in Public Transportation

In testimony before the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) Executive Director Therese McMillan (MCP/MS Transportation dual degree ‘84) spoke on behalf of MTC and other federally-designated metropolitan planning organizations, urging Congress to reauthorize the 2015 Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act and to increase federal investment in transportation, particularly in the nation’s metropolitan areas.

“A strong federal role in our nation’s multimodal transportation system has been essential for the entirety of our nation’s history,” testified McMillan. “It is a core federal responsibility. But transportation is not just about moving people and goods around. It is about access to opportunity and quality of life, and we believe it is time for the federal government to do more, much more.”

McMillan noted the local/state/federal partnership model enshrined in the FAST Act is a model that works. She highlighted the California Legislature’s 2017 approval of the state Senate Bill 1 transportation-financing package and the Bay Area’s commitment each year of more than $1.5 billion of voter-approved sales tax and bridge toll revenue. “Providing for continued growth of the U.S. economy demands a much larger federal commitment to the local-state-federal partnership.”

McMillan cited the federal Surface Transportation Program (STP) and Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) programs as especially important vehicles for increased investment.  “STP and CMAQ provide the flexibility and the accountability to tailor creative solutions across very different communities. For the Bay Area, this flexibility is crucial as we prepare ourselves not just for technological change but also to be more resilient in the face of rising sea levels. The recently flooded Highway 37 in the North Bay is a great example. We need that road to be rebuilt higher but also more environmentally friendly. And we need to do it fast. A bigger federal commitment would go a long way toward meeting all these needs.”

Prior to joining the MTC in 2019, McMillan served executive roles for the Federal Transit Administration from 2009 to 2016. She then served as LA Metro’s Chief Planning Officer from 2016 to 2019. McMillan will also be this year’s speaker at the 2019 CED Commencement Ceremony and a featured panelist at the ITS panelTRB’s Critical Issues in Transportation: A  Research Agenda for the 21st​ Century at the Transportation Engineering Open Hose for admitted studentsApril 5, 2019.