Looking to the future and making exciting, inspirational and, maybe, even sometimes grandiose claims of what can be and the “big things” we are capable of when we all work together, is part and parcel of almost every State of the Union Address, and it seems we Americans are more than willing to eat it up nearly every time.
Having said that, I thought President Obama’s State of the Union Address last night was great. I liked his emphasis on innovation as a crucial tool for making the U.S. more competitive. I was glad to hear that he is calling for Congress to cut the “billions in taxpayer dollars” our government hands out to oil companies. “I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but they’re doing just fine on their own,” he quipped. “So, instead of subsidizing yesterday’s energy, let’s invest in tomorrow’s.”
And, he did point out that, being the nation that “built the transcontinental railroad; brought electricity to rural communities; and constructed the interstate highway system, which created jobs not by just laying down tracks or pavement” but by enabling businesses to “open near a town’s new train station or the new off-ramp,” the U.S. has continued its progress “rebuilding for the 21st century” by replacing our well-worn roads and bridges.
And, he included high-speed rail in that plan. “Within 25 years, our goal is to give 80 percent of Americans access to high-speed rail, which could allow you [to] go places in half the time it takes to travel by car,” he said. “For some trips, it will be faster than flying – without the pat-down.”
So, public transportation was cited as an important piece of tomorrow’s thrilling innovations, which will make us more successful and competitive. And, the cameras trained on Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood for a few seconds, which was also exciting.
“Hey, that’s Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood!” I got to say to my husband, before the caption came up, saying who he was. “I write about that guy!”
Still, as happy as I was with the high-speed rail plug, and all the other “big things” we will do in the future, I was left wondering about the now. What about public transportation right this minute and its need for support, with so many states still struggling and unemployment still sinking ridership in many places? I wish that a few words could have been afforded for supporting our existing transit system.
What do you think?
It drives me nuts when people litter. One of my biggest pet peeves is when people throw trash out of their car windows while they’re driving. I’m always tempted to honk my horn when I see drivers slyly ditching cigarette butts through their open window. Listen up, people. We see you!
Agencies that use Twitter to respond to users’ complaints or answer questions get more positive Twitter reaction and more civil discourse online, according to Lisa Schweitzer the author of a recent study analyzing tweets of public transit agencies. “It’s about the marketing potential of social media — a lot of public transit agencies are simply tweeting their problems to the world by blasting out late service announcements. That’s not a good use of Twitter,” she says. “Transit agencies can influence the tone of the discussion by interacting with patrons online,” Schweitzer explains. “It gives people something to respond to, and it reminds people that somebody is listening.”
Usually by early January, I will hopefully have taken down the last of our holiday decorations and eaten or given away the remaining sweets that have become a part of my regular diet during the month of December. Then, of course like most people, I’ll think about ways I want to improve myself for the coming year. Whether it be exercising more (walking from the parking lot to my office doesn’t count), eating less ice cream or managing my email better. The latter practice alone would help improve my efficiency at work immensely. I’m sure you probably feel the same way.
A new National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) study solidifies what the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) Transit Savings Report has been telling us for years now: riding public transportation can save users money.
June 20 will mark the 8th annual National Dump the Pump Day sponsored by the American Public Transportation Association, in partnership with the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council.