PPT Meets With Secretary Buttigieg About Increasing Service & Affordable Fares

Image of PPT Board Member Lisa Gonzalez speaking to Secretary Buttigieg about the Fair Fares report published by PPT last Fall. Ms Lisa is wearing a yellow shirt. Secretary Buttigieg is holding the report, wearing a white shirt and blue tie. They are standing outside the USDOT office in Washington DC.

PPT Member Lisa Gonzalez speaks to Secretary Buttigieg about how building back better means investment in more transit service and affordable fares

Carrick resident and long-time PPT Board Member Ms. Lisa Gonzalez traveled to Washington DC for a recorded conversation with US Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg about the need to invest in increased transit service and affordable fares as part of the Build Back Better plan. The edited interview aired on Monday, 6/7, at 8pm via MoveOn.org’s facebook page and has received more than 65,000 views. A longer cut of the interview is available here. The meeting was arranged through Pennsylvania United’s involvement with the Real Recovery Now! coalition.

Take action to support Ms. Lisa in her demand for increased federal funding for transit service! Write your US Congressperson and ask them to co-sponsor Rep Hank Johnson’s (D-GA) new bill for expanded service, the “Stronger Communities Through Better Transit Act”

After the video aired, Ms. Lisa echoed the points she raised during her discussion, “What can Secretary Buttigieg and other public officials do to improve public transit? The first thing they can do is ride the bus! They’ll quickly learn that riders are experts who need to be included as leaders in system improvement. The second thing they’ll realize is that increased transit service and more affordable fares will improve transit for all. More service and affordable fares need to be the cornerstones of President Biden’s plan to build back better.”

During the conversation with Secretary Buttigieg, Ms. Lisa highlighted a recent bill introduced by Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA), the “Stronger Communities through Better Transit Act”. This bill would create a new formula grant program that would allow local transit agencies like the Port Authority of Allegheny County to increase service hours and coverage. She also shared the importance of affordable fares to local transit riders. And shared a recent report by Pittsburghers for Public Transit, “No Greater Need, No Greater Opportunity: The Time for COVID-19 Fare Relief for Low-Income Riders Is Now”, with the ask for federal guidance and resources for low-income fare programs as a way to help communities recover from COVID-19.

“An investment in transit will improve people’s access to housing, healthcare, food, and more. That’s why the American jobs plan is smart policy. It solves problems that have plagued Western PA for decades, while creating the jobs we need today and in the future,” said Jennifer Rafanan Kennedy, Executive Director of Pittsburgh United. “It’s clear that Senator Toomey and others like him would rather protect big corporations that avoid taxes and ship jobs overseas than deliver an equitable and sustainable economic recovery. We can’t wait. Congress should pass the American Jobs Plan through budget reconciliation if that’s what it takes to put resources back into our communities.”

Ms. Lisa is a long-time Pittsburgh community organizer who has lead many local campaigns for transit equity and affordable housing with Pittsburghers for Public Transit, Pittsburgh United and Pennsylvania United. She is also a Community Worker at the Pittsburgh Liberty K-5 public school.

The media alert from the national Real Recovery Now! coalition is below:


The broadcast of conversations with people across the country about the need for the #BuildBackBetter agenda to deliver investments in jobs, infrastructure, care, and citizenship can be viewed  here

Washington, D.C. – On Monday, June 7th, at 8:00pm E.T. Real Recovery Now! And Pittsburghers for Public Transit, Pennsylvania United, and Pittsburgh United  aired a Facebook Live broadcast of our Jobs We Need! event featuring members of President Biden’s Jobs Cabinet – Secretaries Buttigieg, Granholm, and Walsh – in conversations with people across the country about the need for the #BuildBackBetter agenda. The conversations delved into how these workers relate to care, green jobs, immigration, transportation and more. 

“For many people in cities across the country, public transportation routes decide where you can go, what you can do, and how you can provide for your family. The president’s agenda to improve public transportation and infrastructure across the country is going to improve everyday lives for so many people across the United States,” said Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg. 

“Infrastructure also includes things like human infrastructure. We need to invest in the means for companies to make solar panels and other green technologies right here in the United States. We want to make these American made industries, where we can put our own people to work,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm. 

“The American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan are transformational. These Infrastructure bills are about making an investment in the American workforce. Our kids, our families and our people deserve better than old lead pipes and failing systems. The workers here today are a snapshot of America. Their success is important because it proves to all those who doubt these programs that investment in America’s workers works,” said Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh. 

National members of the Real Recovery Now! coalition are: CAP Action, SEIU, MoveOn, National Domestic Workers Alliance/Care in Action, Community Change/Action, and Working Families Party