BEST joins in calling on climate funders to invest more to curb greenhouse gas emissions from transportation

By Rob Zako
April 4, 2022

BEST joined over 35 leading climate justice, environmental, civil rights, and philanthropic leaders in calling on climate funders to increase grant funding to organizations advocating to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation.

Arina P Habich/Shutterstock

This week, more than 35 leading environmental, civil rights and philanthropic leaders called on foundations committed to fighting climate change to re-think their grant-making strategy and make greater financial contributions to groups—such as BEST—working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation by improving the availability of high-quality public transit. 

The open letter to funders comes after the passage of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which commits nearly $90 billion in guaranteed funding for public transit over the next five years—the largest federal investment in public transit in history.

The large and diverse coalition releasing the open letter today includes NAACP, Urban Institute,, TransitCenter, Sierra Club, Summit Foundation, NRDC, Bullitt Foundation, Labor Network for Sustainability, Alliance for a Just Society, The Funders Network, Merck Family Fund, U.S. PIRG, National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, and many others. 

The open letter, says in part:

We urge leaders in climate funding to invest in community-based groups who fight for better transportation. We further urge leaders in funding of electric vehicles to make supplementary investments in civic advocacy for public transit and other alternative climate-friendly modes of transportation. We urge leaders to boost the sum total of transportation investments. Specifically, we believe an additional investment of $200 million in transportation organizing is needed to transform the way Americans move, replacing our dependence on highways and roads with an approach to transportation and land use that includes transit, electric trucks and cars, biking, walking, and more.

Public transit is often overlooked as a means for tackling climate change and promoting racial equity. This is a grave mistake. Buses and trains provide mobility across race and class, to people in rural and urban communities alike, and to seniors and people with disabilities. Paired with biking and walking, transit reduces sprawl, improves health, and lowers transportation expenses.

It concludes by stating:

A $200 million philanthropic investment over the next five years would empower local groups to build a robust, coordinated field to win local battles, direct the coming surge of federal funding and prepare for reauthorization. With this funding, frontline organizations will reduce greenhouse gasses in their communities and be ready to win a transformational reauthorization fight in 2026.

Funding local and regional organizing for multimodal transportation is crucial to achieve our shared goals of climate justice and racial equity. We look forward to collaborating with you to build a more sustainable and equitable future.

The letter is being delivered to climate foundations with the expectation that they will increase funding to advocates urging government agencies to provide lower-carbon transportation options, including more transit that is reliable, frequent, fast and equitable.

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