Transportation Equity Network

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Official logo for the Transportation Equity Network.
The Transportation Equity Network's official logo.

The Transportation Equity Network (TEN) is a project of the Gamaliel Foundation and a grassroots organization with more than 350 community organizations in 41 states in the United States. TEN's stated goal is "to create an equity-based transportation system by connecting local transportation campaigns with D.C.-based advocacy."[1]


The Transportation Equity Network was founded in 1997[2] by the Center for Community Change but has since been adopted as a project of the Gamaliel Foundation. TEN was founded to advocate for public transportation on a national level, to provide assistance to community organizations on the local level, and to advocate for public transportation as a civil rights issue.

Notable actions[edit]

In August 2005, TEN celebrated the signing of Safe Accountable Flexible and Efficient Transportation Equity Act-A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU). TEN had worked with congressional representatives from both parties to ensure that language in the bill reflected TEN's priorities. In many cases, language in the bill matched TEN's language verbatim. The adopted language allowed for construction projects. The changes pushed by TEN required public participation plans to be developed with the involvement of local residents in the metropolitan transportation planning process. Changes in the legislation required greater transparency in the planning process and set aside $1 million each year for transportation equity research. TEN's work helped secure the Job Access and Reverse Commute Program by making it a formula program with a guaranteed $700 million over six years.[2]

TEN worked in 2005 with then-Senator Barack Obama to put workforce development language into a federal transportation authorization bill. This allowed local and state officials to craft local hiring agreements to create employment and training opportunities in the transportation construction sector. One early success was in St. Louis, Missouri, where TEN affiliate Metropolitan Congregations United brought the Missouri Department of Transportation to the table and won an agreement that 30% of the workforce on a $500 million highway project would be low-income apprentices and that 1/2 of 1% of the project budget ($2.5 million) would go to job training.[3] This became known as the Missouri Model. Recently, TEN won a commitment from Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood to encourage state Departments of Transportation to adopt TEN’s “Green Construction Careers (Missouri Model)” of workforce development nationwide.[4] TEN also recently worked with Rep. Russ Carnahan to secure language in the jobs bill that passed the U.S. House of Representatives on December 17, 2009, to give transit authorities local control over spending priorities for up to 10 percent of the bill’s $8.4 billion in emergency public transit funding.[5] In December 2009, the Congressional Black Caucus lifted up TEN’s “Green Construction Careers (Missouri Model)” in an open letter to President Obama.

TEN and its affiliates also pursue causes on a local level. In April 2010, TEN member Metropolitan Congregations United (MCU) and allies led a successful campaign in support of a ballot initiative to reinvest in transit in St. Louis city and county. Voters overwhelmingly supported the measure, which will provide $75 million a year to restore service cuts.[6] In the San Francisco Bay Area, TEN affiliate GENESIS was among several civil rights groups that filed a federal civil rights complaint and successfully stopped the use of $70 million in stimulus funds for a rail project that would have violated the Civil Rights Act.[7] Instead, the money will be used to avoid cuts in the region’s other transit lines.[8] In August 2010, in Kansas City, Missouri, TEN member MORE2 secured $11 million in local transit funding over 10 years, an increase of $5 million over previous levels. In Minnesota, TEN member ISAIAH successfully argued that a planned light rail line (the METRO Green Line) connecting Minneapolis and Saint Paul should include three additional stops in underserved, low-income communities. Also in Minnesota, after a five-year-long intensive campaign, ISAIAH convinced Minnesota Department of Transportation to dedicate $6.2 million in federal highway money over the next five years to training and apprenticeships in highway construction work to low-wage workers, people of color and women.[1] In October 2010, TEN affiliate MORE2 successfully worked to ensure that equity requirements would be included in the new TIGER II federal grants.[9]

Studies and reports[edit]

In January 2007, TEN released a study called The Road to Jobs, which used census] and other government data to the examine the employment of African Americans, Hispanics, and women in the construction field in 18 metropolitan areas. The study found that African-Americans, Latinos and women] are underrepresented compared to white men in every one of the 18 metropolitan areas.[10] TEN has since worked to incorporate workforce equity requirements into federal, state, and local transportation legislation.

In September 2008, TEN released a follow-up study called The Road to Good Jobs. The report built upon the foundation laid in The Road to Jobs but went further in examining patterns of pay and union membership in construction across the nation's top twenty-five metropolitan areas.[9][11]

In 2009, TEN and PolicyLink released a joint report entitled An Engine of Opportunity: A User’s Guide to Advocate for Transportation Equity in the 2009 Recovery Act. The report was designed as guide to activists, advocates, and journalists on the distribution of billions of dollars in transportation funding. The report also highlighted the key deadlines, reporting requirements and policy targets that were still to come that year.[12]

Later in 2009, TEN released a study co-authored by Transportation for America on the effects of service cuts on transit systems across the country. Entitled Stranded at the Station: The Impact of the Financial Crisis in Public Transportation, the study looked at the challenges facing 25 communities across the country. Many communities were facing record levels of ridership and simultaneously dealing with crippling budget and service cuts. The authors of the study found that failures on the federal level had compounded these problems and that older Americans and members of racial minorities were disproportionately affected by the cuts.[13]

In August 2010, a major study authored by TEN entitled More Transit = More Jobs was released. The study looked at 20 metropolitan areas and the potential effects of shifting 50% of highway spending to public transit. The report concluded that such a shift would create 1,123,674 new transit jobs over a five-year period in the 20 metropolitan areas. This would mean a net gain of 180,150 jobs over five years. The study was designed to demonstrate the positive impact of spending on public transit compared to spending highways.[14]

Current platform[edit]

TEN's current stated platform centers around four issues:[15]

1. Economic Growth for All Through Fair Access to Transportation-Related Jobs
  • Require that 30% of work hours for infrastructure and transportation projects be performed by low-income workers, ex-offenders, women, the homeless, and minority populations (the “Missouri Model” or “Green Construction Careers Model”).
  • Require that 1% of project budgets be used for the recruitment, training, and retention of under-represented workers in highway construction, transit, and rail projects.
  • Maximize the use of low-income apprentices and union labor.
2. Access to Opportunity Through Increased Funding for Mass Transit
  • Shift the 80/20 imbalance in federal funding favoring highways over transit to include a significantly higher proportion of transit funding.
  • Allow public transit agencies to use federal mass transit funding for operating expenses.
3. Accountability in Government Through Increased Community Input into Local and State Planning and Funding Processes
  • Ensure that representation of Metropolitan Planning Organizations and state Departments of Transportation reflect the diverse communities they serve, and ensure that their project goals include achieving equitable results.
4. Sustainable Development Through Smart AND Equitable Growth
  • Develop mass transit systems both inside and outside urban centers to serve diverse communities.
  • Maximize the development of affordable housing in “transit villages.”
  • Minimize forced relocations from demolition.
  • Minimize the environmental impacts of development through ecologically friendly mass transit.

External links[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "TEN Victories". TEN website. Transportation Equity Network. 2010. 
  2. ^ a b "TEN Toolkit for Leaders". TEN website. Transportation Equity Network. 2010. 
  3. ^ "Gamaliel Jobs". Gamaliel website. The Gamaliel Foundation. 2010. 
  4. ^ "Faith Coalition IL News". Faith Coalition. Faith Coalition for the Common Good. 2010. 
  5. ^ "TWU Transit Blog". TWU Website. Transit Workers Union. 2009. 
  6. ^ "Buses Return in Force Monday". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. 2010. 
  7. ^ "BART Loses Fed Funds for Oakland Airport Tram". NewAmericaMedia. New America Media. 2010. 
  8. ^ "Federal Civil Rights Review Raises Governance Questions at MTC". Streetsblog. Streetsblog. 2010. 
  9. ^ a b "Equity Victory in TIGER II Grants". TEN. TEN. 2010. 
  10. ^ "TEN releases "Road to Jobs" study on the state of the nation's workforce". TEN. TEN. 2007. 
  11. ^ "TEN Report: Road to Good Jobs". TEN. TEN. 2008. 
  12. ^ "An Engine of Opportunity". TEN. TEN. 2009. 
  13. ^ "Stranded at the Station". TEN. TEN. 2009. 
  14. ^ "More Transit = More Jobs: New Report". TEN. 2010. 
  15. ^ "What We Want: The TEN Platform". TEN website. Transportation Equity Network. 2010.