Dear Colleagues,


I wanted to forward on this success from my colleague Patricia, as I know some of you have worked on DOT projects in your communities.


Please read below.


Best regards,


Jessica Stern
Private Sector Initiatives Programs Manager

Americans for the Arts
1 E 53rd Street 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10022
212.223.2787 x2077
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From: Patricia Walsh
Sent: Thursday, July 2, 2020 9:31 AM
Subject: NEWS! Federal Arts in Transit WIN!!!


Hi PAN Listserv,


For over 4 years a grassroots group of arts in transit colleagues alongside AFTA’s government affairs team have been working to restore the use of federal funds for the integration of art into local transit projects. Today, we received some exciting news that the new surface transportation authorization bill H.R. 2 (the INVEST in America Act/Moving Forward Act) just passed the House and it includes the language to allow for federal funds to be used again for local art in transit projects!


For some context: In December 2015, Congress passed the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, P.L. 114-94 to reauthorize highway and transit programs that also established a prohibition for use of Federal Transit Administration funds for art in transit, disrupting a long standing and highly lauded national tradition. As amended by the FAST Act, federal funds are no longer able to be used for the “incremental costs of incorporating art or non-functional landscaping into facilities, including the costs of an artist on the design team.” Previously, federal law allowed local transit authorities to include project costs associated with art (typically 1-2% of the project’s capital budget) and landscaping.


Since January 2016, a small but mighty group of arts in transit administrators and AFTA staff have been fighting to address this these damming provisions that have threatened jobs and provided roadblocks for art to be integrated in local projects. This work made it this far with the help of House of Representatives Alma S. Adams (NC-D) who drafted the STAR Act to remove those roadblocks. The language from the STAR Act is now included in the H.R. 2 (the INVEST in America Act/Moving Forward Act) which just passed the House!!!


What does this mean? It means that since the passage of the FAST Act there is now light at the end of the tunnel! Now, it must go to the Senate. We’ve been in contact with our House representatives to work on Senate outreach to make sure it is maintained in the final Senate version too before it’s passed and goes to the White House.


To learn more about this issue please check out the issue brief found here.


Congratulations to all of you work so far! We are now one big step forward!




Patricia Walsh

Public Art and Civic Design Senior Program Manager

Americans for the Arts

1000 Vermont Ave NW 6th Floor

Washington, DC 20005-4940

202.371.2830 x2024

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