August 30, 2021
City Manager David CookeCity of Fort Worth
200 Texas Street
Fort Worth, TX 76102
Re: Support for the Trinity Metro FY’22 Budget Request
Dear Mr. Cooke,
The Tarrant Transit Alliance would like to thank you, David Cooke, Jay Chapa, Dana Burgdoff, and Mark McAvoy, for taking time out of your busy schedules to meet with us a few weeks back to discuss strategic partnerships and alignment. We truly appreciated the discussion and look forward to establishing a newfound partnership with the City of Fort Worth.
The Tarrant Transit Alliance had the opportunity to review the Trinity Metro FY'22 Budget request and is in support of the projects that enhance access and mobility for our riders. We understand that Trinity Metro provided a FY '21 budget request last year, and a few projects were funded. We hope that the City of Fort Worth can provide greater funding support to the projects that Trinity Metro has requested this year.
Beyond economic recovery, transit projects such as the items proposed have considerable economic development potential. In 2020, the University of North Texas conducted a study on the Dallas Area Rapid Transit's economic and fiscal impacts of development near DART Light-Rail Stations. This study determined that the 81 development projects identified generated $10.27 billion for the DFW economy, created 61,017 construction jobs, and $286.4 million in state and local tax revenue. We believe these are the sorts of investments we need to be making for Fort Worth's future. But these sorts of economic returns require brave leadership and smart investment.
On August 10th, 2021, the $1T Infrastructure bill passed the Senate and provided an opportunity for major infrastructure development to further improve the nation's infrastructure. With $39B set aside for public transit, Fort Worth has an opportunity to develop and support projects that can provide greater mobility options to our growing city.
We look forward to hearing more from you about the Trinity Metro request and understanding more about the selection process to improve the selection of projects.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Chair, Tarrant Transit Alliance
Onyinye AkujuoVice-Chair, Tarrant Transit Alliance
Rachel AlbrightPresident, Tarrant Transit Alliance
This is Part 2 - Outline of Policy Recommendations.
To view Part 1 - Statement of Purpose, CLICK HERE.
These policies are the primary focus of the Tarrant Transit Alliance. Policies we are supportive of at a local level are outlined below.
Ensure our Tarrant County based transit agencies and services (Trinity Metro, VIA, etc.) are utilizing our tax payer's dollars efficiently by providing transparent, cost-effective, and accountable services to our riders.
Develop strategic partnerships with Tarrant County cities and the NCTCOG to ensure policies are regionalized across the County.
Incorporate stronger transparency and public feedback mechanisms so communities affected by planning efforts are a part of the planning process.
Implement the plans that you pay for. Don’t let a million-dollar study sit on the shelf.
Redesign current transit networks so more people can reach more places in less time, prioritizing the travel needs of people of the global majority and low-income neighborhoods. Expand frequent service in response to changing residential and employment patterns.
Integrate fares, routes, and schedules between overlapping bus and rail services to create cohesive, easy-to-use regional transit networks that expand access for riders.
Strategically increase the amount of transit service in areas where it is needed, so many more people and jobs are within walking distance of bus or train routes that arrive frequently all day, every day.
Look for viable service options for areas that don't have high ridership but still need service.
Enable riders to bypass traffic congestion by implementing comprehensive bus prioritization techniques as needed such as bus-only lanes and signal prioritization on major routes.
Improve pedestrian and bicycle connections to transit stops and stations, and add shelters and other amenities at bus stops.
Add features to make existing and new transit infrastructure universally accessible, such as transit elevators and sidewalks.
Reform commuter rail operations and fares to make service useful and affordable to lower-income riders who the 9-to-5 suburban service model has excluded.
Implement safety policies that look beyond policing, such as station and stop cameras and operator de-escalation training, so all communities feel free from the threat of violence and harassment.
Structure fares to make transit affordable for everyone, including discounts or free passes for people with low incomes, seniors, students, and children. Ensure that these opportunities are effectively communicated to these communities.
Work with FWISD & other school districts to create school-based transit passes for students, parents, teachers, & faculty. Emphasize high schools, after-school programs, career & technology programs, internships, etc.
Increase the presence of transit riders, women, Black and brown people, people with disabilities, and other under-represented groups on agency governing boards.
Ensure public-funded ventures benefit the whole community & commit to the public instead of the bottom line.
Equally prioritize maintenance and utilitarian upgrades of existing transit infrastructure with aesthetically-driven projects or high-cost capital expansions.
When major capacity expansion projects are built, implement them in places with high concentrations of people and jobs, where the most people will benefit, not where the smallest number will object.
Policies we are supportive of/and would like to see employed at the Texas state level are outlined below.
Classify transit workers as essential workers, entitled to PPE, leave, and other necessary benefits.
Flex more federal funds to transit agencies instead of highways.
Ramp up investment in pedestrian safety along major transit routes on state roads.
Eliminate red tape for converting right-of-way on state roads to transit-only lanes.
Comprehensively analyze impacts of new transportation technologies on existing workers, including workers who may be deskilled, required to learn new skills, or entirely displaced. Look at how these technologies will be accessible to the workforce and people who need them.
Create more seats for transportation labor in new technology-related working groups.
Incorporate stronger transparency and public feedback mechanisms
Policies we are supportive of and would like to see employed at the federal level are outlined below.
Achieve funding parity between the highway program and the transit program.
Overhaul the Federal Highway Administration program to reduce carbon emissions, prioritize road maintenance over expansion, and induce state DOTs to improve pedestrian and bike connections to transit.
Significantly enlarge transit capital grant programs. Prioritize maintenance, retrofitting systems for accessibility, and upgrades and expansions that benefit the most riders.
Align incentives within all federal transit grant programs to reward agencies that increase overall ridership and improve service for everyone.
Create a program modeled on SNAP benefits to dramatically expand fare relief.
Identify causes of high transit construction costs and systematically promote practices to bring costs down.
Create a new standard for paratransit to achieve reliable, on-demand service for people with disabilities and people over 65.
Stronger transparency and public feedback mechanisms for federal rules regarding autonomous technologies, including mandatory plans for when and where the new product or service would be phased into operations and for formal procurement.
This is Part 1 - Statement of Purpose.
To view Part 2 - Policy Recommendations, CLICK HERE.
The Tarrant Transit Alliance (TTA) works with contributors, community officials, and regional leaders to build support for funding regional transit in Fort Worth and Tarrant County. Our purpose is to educate, empower and mobilize policy to serve our entire region.
TTA supports transportation planning and governmental efforts that improve the quality of life of all Tarrant County residents. The principles outlined in this document will guide us as we move towards a more equitable, more accessible community.
TTA’s board and executive leadership team identifies as: 23% African American, 17% Hispanic, 60% Caucasian, 34% Women, 3% who identify as “other,” and 63% Men. Our diverse team is committed to ensuring that equity-focused transportation policies and support are prioritized in Tarrant county to ensure access to economic, health, and educational opportunities.
Twenty-five percent (25%) of Tarrant County households fall within the ALICE threshold (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed), and the average annual transportation cost for a Fort Worth resident is approximately $12,974/yr. Having a transportation system that maximizes access to dependable transit options is vital for supporting our citizens and our city’s economic vitality. Transit is necessarily inclusive, without barriers linked to race, income, age, or ability. Because transit is resource-efficient and supports low-emission neighborhoods, it is also an indispensable tool for preventing climate change, cleaning our air, and protecting public health.
TTA has formulated the following equity principles to ensure that our transportation systems do not perpetuate racial and income inequality, limit economic opportunity, hasten catastrophic climate change, or exacerbate chronic disease.
The Annie E Casey Foundation describes racial justice as ”the systematic fair treatment of people of all races that results in equitable opportunities and outcomes for everyone. All people are able to achieve their full potential in life, regardless of race, ethnicity, or the community in which they live ...[this]... framework can move us from a reactive posture to a more powerful, proactive and even preventive approach.” (Annie E Casey Foundation, 2021)
According to the Department of Transportation, “Equitable and safe access to transportation is a civil right” (US DOT, 2021). On January 20, 2021, President Biden signed Executive Order 13985 on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government (Equity E.O.). The Equity E.O. directs the Federal Government to “pursue a comprehensive approach to advance equity, civil rights, racial justice, and equal opportunity to strengthen communities that have been historically underserved, marginalized, and adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality.” (Equity E.O., 2021)
In accordance with the Federal efforts being provided, the TTA Equity Principles will serve as the embodiment of the movement that is needed to enhance transit access for our most underserved and widely marginalized communities.
Our single-occupancy-vehicle-dependent development patterns have historically and continuously reinforced long-standing social inequities. Tarrant County residents deserve the freedom to choose a multitude of transportation modes. Transportation investment must be centered around removing barriers and prioritizing the needs of people of the global majority, people with low incomes, and people with disabilities.
In the DFW Metroplex, the primary source of ozone-generating emissions comes from automobiles. To ensure the residents of Tarrant County have access to clean air and a sustainable future, some car trips must shift to a more environmentally friendly mode. Transit investment must expand access to good bus, train, high-speed rail, on-demand, and bike service so transit ridership increases as a share of total travel. An emphasis on electrification is encouraged and recommended, but shifting modes is the top priority.
We want transit that accesses all areas of our city and is a good choice for anyone who might want to use it. This means that it is safe, reliable, easy to use, and clean - emphasizing customer service.
Access to transit should never be contingent on one’s ability to pay. People who need to get to work, school, and medical appointments need to be able to do so.
FTA funding grants opportunities & partnerships to lessen the expense on commuters. Especially for low-income populations.
Potential State funding can also provide relief for the ever-growing costs of transit.
We want to ensure any fare increase is equitable and attainable.
Those who need reduced-fare opportunities need to KNOW about these opportunities. Communication and marketing should be a primary emphasis of agencies and governments.
Improved transit choices expand workers’ access to jobs, employers’ access to the workforce, customer access to businesses, and business access to a customer base.
Instead of focusing on transit agencies as a for-profit business, communities should look at modal return on investment (ROI) as a part of a whole, healthy municipal system. Improved transit access, in tandem with healthy urban density, is suitable for taxpayers and municipal budgets. Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) is great for the economic health of our community, placemaking & access. In a study of The Economic and Fiscal Impacts of Development Near DART Light-Rail Stations, researchers concluded that the studied TODs around DART’s light rail “... added billions in economic activity for the DFW economy, [and] will serve as a catalyst for future economic growth.” (Shattles and Ball 2020)
Transit investment must go beyond capital investments & various modes.
There are many factors that limit access to transit, including dangerous streets and lack of basic infrastructure amenities like sidewalks, streetlights, crosswalks, and shelters/benches.
Transit riders and operators deserve to use a system that takes their safety and security seriously.
It is important to look to the future and consider what the future of our region will be, but we shouldn’t wait to invest in needed accessibility measures. There is a need now. We need to meet the needs of today AND tomorrow.
VIEW OUR OUTLINE OF POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS
Annie E Casey Foundation. (2021, April 14). Equity vs. Equality and Other Racial Justice Definitions. AECF.org. Retrieved June 8, 2021, from https://www.aecf.org/blog/racial-justice-definitions
Center for Neighborhood Technology. (2017). H+T Fact Sheet : Tarrant County, TX. Housing and Transportation Index. Retrieved June 2021, 8, from https://htaindex.cnt.org/map/
Executive Order On Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government. (2021, January 20). The White House. Retrieved July 6, 2021, from https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2021/01/20/executive-order-advancing-racial-equity-and-support-for-underserved-communities-through-the-federal-government/
Shattles, G., & Ball, M. A. (2020, July 23). DART Rail Generates $10.27 Billion Near Rail Stations. DART.org. Retrieved June 8, 2021, from https://www.dart.org/news/news.asp?ID=1520
Tarrant County Public Health. (n.d.). BE AIR AWARE. TarrantCounty.com. Retrieved June 8, 2021, from https://www.tarrantcounty.com/en/public-health/health-protection-and-response/environmental-health-promotion/air-quality.html
United for ALICE. (2018). Texas • 2018 County Profiles - Tarrant. ALICE Research Center - Texas. Retrieved June 8, 2021, from https://www.unitedforalice.org/county-profiles/texas
U.S. Department of Transportation Announces Request for Information on Transportation Data and Assessment Methods. (2021, June 1). US Department of Transportation. Retrieved July 6, 2021, from https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/newsroom/us-department-transportation-announces-request-information-transportation-data-and#:~:text=Equitable%20access%20to%20transportation%20is,pursue%20a%20comprehensive%20approach%20to
June 19, 2021
Written on behalf of the TTA Board and members -
Today, on June 19, 2021, we celebrate and commemorate the 156th Anniversary of the acknowledgment in the state of Texas of the Emancipation Proclamation that declared 'all Slaves forever free,' by a U. S. Presidential Proclamation and Executive Order. This proclamation established the foundation on which we hold up the social and economic pillars of Social Justice and Freedom for all, including public transportation, which provided a pathway to economic and social freedom. The Tarrant Transit Alliance would like to join this 156-year Juneteenth celebration of Black liberation by supporting the continued commitment to advancing affordable and accessible multi-modal transit options for all African Americans.
The intersection between mobility access and social justice in our Country has been there from the start. Consider civil rights icon Rosa Parks and her display to the world in 1955 following her arrest for sitting in the front of the public bus.
We continue to see inequities within transit systems due to the lack of capital and operational funding to expand and enhance mobility options. Even today, transportation funding continues to help the suburbs at the expense of cities, with only 20% of all transportation dollars spent on mass transit. Let us also consider the powerful statement Rosa Parks made in 1955 and make a commitment to change our community's mobility trajectory by investing in the well-being and freedom of all people with an investment in multi-modal transportation.
As the TTA Chairman, I applaud the entire TTA Board of Directors for their commitment to supporting and advancing transit policies that seek to revitalize communities of color, where economic and social inequalities often exist. We acknowledge the role that unchecked development can bring to a community & the need for better options for these historically underserved areas. While transit has the power to gentrify and displace, when done within a framework of equity and access, transit can also elevate our community.
To do this work, to indeed be drivers of progress, agencies and city leaders need to take a step back to listen to the voices that have long done the work to promote equitable placemaking - and then take real, sustainable action. This progress requires financial resources and visionary leadership.
It is in honor of leaders like Rosa Parks that TTA pushes toward transit equity through our efforts to see increased funding at the local, state, and federal levels. We promise to apply an equity lens to our board and programming to ensure equal representation, and we will actively work to better engage in inclusive public outreach. We will make the space to listen, learn, and support opportunities for change amongst TTA proponents, both at the community level and within the public sector.
I encourage each of us to honor this Juneteenth Day by having a sense of urgency and intentionality in committing to action. Let's set some tangible goals that espouse the values we hold dear. Let's invest in the well-being of all humankind.
Thank you for your continued commitment to advancing Freedom and Emancipation through investment in public transportation.
Chair of the Board
Tarrant Transit Alliance
Vice-Chair of the Board
Image description: 'Title states: '3rd Place Goes To...' with an image of a bus shelter on. The top left image says, 'The Glen Park Bus Shelters;, and an image of a rectangular bus stop with a woman laying on the bench looking at her phone and a gentleman in a wheelchair in business attire sitting to the right of the structure under the awning. The bottom left image depicts the bottom of the shelter with a dog laying next to the shelter in the shade. The image to the right are line images that are the orthographic views of the bus structure proposal. The bottom announces the 3rd place winner, Logan Rodgers from The University of Texas - Austin.
Image description: 'Title states: '2nd Place Goes To...'. The two images are on top of a blue background. The left image is of a bench in a T shape with a flower planter in the center of the T. There is a circular canopy coming up from the back of the bench. There are two silhouettes sitting on the bench on either side of the flower planter. It sits on the grass near a sidewalk and the storefront of a Family Dollar is in the background. The image on the right is of the same structure in three different angles; front view, side view, and an angled view. At the bottom of the image is the title, 'La Ola'. The bottom of the image lists the names and schools of the 2nd place team: James Lawrence, Tuesday Alonso, Morgan Brown, Sarah Hamzeh, Stephan Wettermark and Scott Williams. University of North Texas, University of Texas - Alington, Texas A&M University, University of Houston, Iowa State University, School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Image description: 'Title states: 'Dahlia Garcia and Jose Rodriguez: Tarrant County College and University of Texas - Arlington'. The three images are on top of a moving confetti background. The Top image is of a brown and grey bus stop structure with two side walls, a roof, two benches under the roof and a handicap spot for wheelchair users. There is '25 Miller and Pierce' on the side of one of the structure walls. The bottom left image is of the same structure angled to the right, with one person with white shoes, grey pants and a black shirt standing facing away under the structure. Another woman is walking away from the structure in a black dress and grey fanny pack. The bottom right image is of the same structure angled to the left, with a man in grey pants and a light grey tops sitting on the bench under the shelter. A woman with black pants and orange top stands outside the structure. All images are drawings/renderings. Bottom text reads: '1st Place Winner'.
Thank you to all the participating teams, and congratulations to our
1st, 2nd and 3rd Place winners!
We are excited to see our new board announcements in both the Fort Worth Business Press and Fort Worth Inc.!
Here is the Press Release --
Tarrant Transit Alliance (TTA), a transit advocacy group committed to educating, empowering and mobilizing the Tarrant County and Fort Worth community to promote multimodal transit policy that serves the entire region, appoints 14 new community leaders to its board of directors.
Among the new board members is Onyinye Akujuo of the JPS Foundation, who will serve the organization as vice chair of the board.
These additions will increase the size of TTA’s board to 37 members.
In addition to Akujuo, new Tarrant Transit Alliance board members are: Dionne Bagsby of Tarrant County College, Chelsea Bonham of Acute Salon, Jerene Bustamante of the Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Chelsea Griffith of the City of Fort Worth, Jonathan Guadian of the Glen Park Neighborhood Association, Jared Howard of the Fort Worth Metropolitan Black Chamber of Commerce, Tiesa Leggett of the North Texas Commission, Rick Miedema of the Teamsters Local 997, Renee Parker of Workforce Solutions for Tarrant County, Brad Lonberger of Kimley-Horn, Richard Riccetti of Williamson-Dickies, Daniel Garcia Rodriguez of United Fort Worth and Danette Wicker of Danette’s Urban Oasis.
“The momentum for multimodal transit improvements in our area has increased, but there is still a long way to go, and we could not ask for a better group of committed change-makers and leaders to advocate on behalf of transit and the future of Tarrant County,” said Andre McEwing, board chair of the Tarrant Transit Alliance.
Current board members include McEwing of Tarrant County College, Jeff Davis (past chair) of Republic Title, Graham Brizendine (secretary and treasurer) of Rogue Architects, Carlo Andreani of Pacheco Koch Consulting Engineers, Tyler Arbogast of Fort Worth Housing Solutions, Bob Baulsir of Trinity Metro, Kristen Camareno of Tarrant County, John Dewar of Freese & Nichols, Rainey Dock Matthews of the Mayor’s Council on People with Disabilities, Allison Docker of Near Southside Inc., Matt Dufrene of BlueZones and Texas Health Resources, Chad Edwards of the City of Fort Worth, Jesse Herrera of Urban Theory and CoAct, Leah King of United Way of Tarrant County, Melissa Konur of Downtown Fort Worth Inc., Dee Lara Oneal of DBIA-SW and This Place TX, Rebecca Montgomery of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, Roxanne Pillar of Huitt-Zollars, Benjamin Roberston of Byrne Construction, Schuyler Stapleton, a student at Tarrant County College, Casey Tounget of Transwestern, Manuel Urbina, a student at Tarrant County College and Walter Williams of Tarrant County College.
The Tarrant Transit Alliance began in 2017 when a group of community leaders and organizations – including Tarrant County College, The Real Estate Council of Greater Fort Worth and Trinity Metro – recognized a need for educating, empowering and mobilizing the community to promote transit policy to serve the entire region.
The Tarrant Transit Alliance works with contributors, community officials and regional leaders to build support for regional transit in Fort Worth and Tarrant County.
Our team developed three different system alternatives based on your feedback and we need your input to select the final network plan.
We have created the following fact sheets to provide you more information about each system alternative.
READ NOW >
READ MORE >
The TTA Transit Academy is designed to equip everyone - from engaged community members to private- & public-sector leaders - with the tools the tools to lead conversations about the value of multi-modal transit across the region and the emerging mass transit options that can address our mobility needs in Tarrant County.
New This Year Join us for the first ALL VIRTUAL Transit Academy!
We are offering the same great academy, but we will be hosting these sessions all online.
TTA Member Rate - $125
Non-Member Rate - $175
Full or Partial Scholarships are available for those who qualify.
Apply for a scholarship by going to https://airtable.com/shrW127yang1Pb29o
Registration Opening Soon!
Who wants the best inaugural TTA Symposium EVER? We do! So, we decided that with everything going on in the world right now, pushing the event out to 2021 will make that goal a reality. Stay tuned in 2021 for the new date!
Are you bummed about the date change and want to get involved right now with the strides we are making to increase transit accessibility for all community members? Become an annual sponsor, corporate member or individual patron! Visit tarranttransitalliance.org/join-tta to join today.
Edit: August 5th, 2020
We sent in a final draft of the letter on August 4th in support of Trinity Metro's budget request. However, if you missed the deadline, you can still add your name and logo and we will plan on sending out an addendum!
There will also be opportunities for us to speak at public budget hearings. more on this soon!
See the Final Letter (as of August 4th) here-
Letter in Support of Trinity Metro Budget Request for FY21 08-04-2020.pdf
Please join us in endorsing the following letter to Mayor Betsy Price, City Manager David Cooke, and Fort Worth City Council. Our city leaders need to know there is diverse and broad-based support for transit funding in Fort Worth. Now more than ever, we need to be focusing on how we get our citizens back to work and help support those who have been adversely impacted by the economic downturn as a result of COVID-19. Trinity Metro will be going before the City Council on behalf of all transit riders in Tarrant County, one of the fastest growing counties in the nation, to make a prudent and responsible budget request for FY2021, which will have lasting impacts on our system.
We ask you to please consider adding your organization's name among other key community leaders, business organizations, non-profits, and civic groups to communicate the need to provide and grow reliable, accessible, and robust transit opportunities to the entire North Central Texas region.
If the last few months have taught us anything, it's that transit is an essential service. Transit gets our essential employees to work; transit creates equity for all; and transit creates otherwise unfulfilled opportunities for education, access to good-paying jobs, and to experience all the assets of our wonderful community.
If you will provide us your organization's name, logo, and contact info, and we will gladly add you to this important letter which will demonstrate your support for viable and dependable transit in Fort Worth.
Look up your council district here - oneaddress.fortworthtexas.gov
Fort Worth Transit
Fort Worth Transportation Authority(The T)
Molly the Trolley
Trinity Railway Express
The T Master Plan
Transit Alliance of Middle Tennessee
PO Box 470474Fort Worth, TX 76147