Move LA's Eli Lipmen was on a roll this year working at the national, state and local levels, and his work was acknowledged by both the TransitCenter and The Mobility Fund, which decided to help fund this work.
The TransitCenter is a NYC-based foundation that works to improve transit in cities across the U.S., and The Mobility Fund is a project of the Global Philanthropy Partnership and supports community-based advocacy to increase access to and the use of transit and active transportation.
First, Eli worked with the TransitCenter and other advocacy groups across the U.S. to move the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill forward, discussing its importance with dozens of members of Congress. Congress passed and President Biden signed the bill.
Acknowledging this work, the TransitCenter presented Eli with their "Think Globally, Act Locally" award because during the pandemic, they wrote, he'd "been a key voice combining insight and action at the local, state, and federal levels." He was also recognized for his organizing work on the Transit Justice National Campaign and on "local campaigns to ensure that public transit continues to serve riders."
Eli (pictured with his kids riding on the 'E' Line) also won the TransitCenter's "Best Local Campaign" award, along with long-time Move LA partners ACT-LA, Investing in Place and a coalition of more than 20 other LA advocacy groups, after they together won a commitment from LA Metro to restore bus service to pre-pandemic levels.
Service cuts at the beginning of the pandemic meant essential workers were putting up with long waits and unpredictable bus arrival times. When Metro received billions of dollars in funding from the federal CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) and CRRSSA Act (Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act), advocacy groups brought so much pressure to bear that the Metro board voted to spend some of its money improving service.
The TransitCenter wrote this was "a testament to the success of years of organizing for better bus service in the region, which led to the ability to mobilize quickly and effectively at the right moment."
Unfortunately, once again, there are complaints about long waits and unpredictable service as Metro began collecting fares and Omicron surges, and Move LA is working with advocates and the Metro Board to leverage federal and state resources to prioritize the restoration and expansion of LA Metro bus service. This is where the Mobility Fund's support will be crucial, as well as supporting oversight on the implementation of Metro's Fareless System Initiative.
Move LA will also be working with the South LA Promise Zone (SLATE-Z) to advocate for capital projects that prioritize bus speed and active transportation that benefit low-income riders and communities of color, specifically in South L.A. The top priority for this geographically-based effort is to break ground on Metro's Rail-to-River Project, a 10-mile active transportation pedestrian and bicycle corridor that will connect Southeast and South LA with the Crenshaw 'K' Line, Silver 'J' Line, and Blue 'A' Line.
We are very grateful to these foundations for enabling us and our partners help bus riders during the difficult year of 2021, proving that bus riders and bus advocates can together help ensure a bright future that doesn't require all of us to own cars and contribute to climate change.