Fitzpatrick’s bill would expand transit access to higher ed institutions

U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) on May 17 led a bipartisan bill that would provide public transit grants to eligible recipients to increase students’ access to higher education. 

The congressman sponsored the Promoting Advancement Through Transit Help (PATH) to College Act, H.R. 3411, with three original cosponsors, including lead cosponsor U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA). 

“Lack of public transit often acts as a barrier to entry for students looking to enroll in higher education programs, particularly in rural and underserved areas,” Rep. Fitzpatrick said. “My bipartisan PATH to College Act will provide grants to encourage the expansion of public transit options near community college campuses, further expanding accessibility for students across the country.”

If enacted, H.R. 3411 would authorize the U.S. Transportation Secretary to make grants to eligible recipients, which are public transit providers working at eligible institutions — including historically black colleges or universities and minority-serving institutions — to carry out projects that better connect students with transportation to those eligible institutions, according to the text of the bill.

An eligible recipient receiving a federal grant would be able to use the funds for one or more items: to add bus or rail stops or routes and complementary paratransit service that serve campuses and connect to surrounding areas or other cities; to increase the frequency of service or adjusting the time of bus, rail, or paratransit routes to allow students to get to and from their classes; and for specific eligible operating costs, the text says.

“This bill is not just about ensuring students can reach their campuses — it’s about giving every student a fair shot at success,” said Rep. Kilmer. “This bill recognizes that, for many students, the journey to higher education is often hindered by obstacles like transportation. By addressing these challenges, we’re not only improving public transit, but also empowering students to focus more on their studies and less on their commute.”

H.R. 3411 is supported by the Association of Community College Trustees.