Transportation Equity Leaders “Fly-In” to D.C.

Photo Courtesy of Upstream Public Health. (L to R) Mara Gross, Policy Director, Coalition for a Livable Future; Midge Purcell, Director of Advocacy and Public Policy, Urban League of Portland; Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR); Eduardo Angulo, Executive Director, Salem-Keizer Coalition for Equality; and Heidi Guenin, Transportation Policy Coordinator, Upstream Public Health

On July 13 and 14, over 40 community leaders from 9 states convened in Washington, D.C. for “Utilizing Transportation Investments to Expand Opportunity for All,” a two-day transportation and health equity event.

The event engaged an incredibly diverse set of local leaders from public health, disability rights, civil rights, economic justice, tribal, and transportation organizations.  The leaders, who came from Alabama, California, Colorado, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, and Rhode Island, met in our nation’s capitol to discuss the need for equitable transportation investment as a pathway to better health, personal independence, and expanded economic opportunity.

During the convening, the local leaders talked directly to senior level Administration officials and key Congressional staff about priorities related to improving access to transportation options, promoting improved health, expanding economic opportunity, and fostering greater accountability.  They also participated in over 40 educational meetings with Congressional staff members who have a role in crafting the transportation bill.

The impact of the event will be long-lasting for these delegations.  Many of the organizations who participated had never sat together at a health equity and transportation table.  Throughout the convening, leaders connected to a new set of partners who they can now work with to advance health equity and transportation priorities in their communities, as well as to a growing national network of transportation and health equity leaders.

Immediately following the fly-in leaders from the New York delegation got re-engaged in the current debate over the House and Senate’s competing visions for a transportation bill, calling for their legislators to support the inclusion of equity priorities in the transportation bill.

PolicyLink wishes to thank and acknowledge all of our partners who co-hosted this event, including The American Public Health Association, Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living, Center for Rural Strategies, Leadership Conference Education Fund, National Urban League, Transportation Equity Network, and Transportation for America.

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