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Study: Employer support for transit increasing in urban areas

Posted on June 3, 2013

"Bosses for Buses," a study released by Good Jobs First, a national policy resource center for grassroots groups and public officials, found that American employers are organizing and winning better public transportation in many metro areas.

Major employers such as universities, hospitals and business coalitions help explain why more than 70% of ballot initiatives for transit win.

Yet at the national level, according to the study, there is no unified corporate voice for transit, only disparate voices speaking to parts of the issue. The 2009 federal stimulus, the 2012 Surface Transportation Act reauthorization, and the January 2013 federal income tax compromise all affected transit, yet none drew a unified corporate voice for transit.

Local business coalitions — united by geography — are mostly powered by companies that depend on transit, whereas national advocacy is dominated by companies that sell to transit agencies.

The study catalogued the many businesses that support public transit and the diverse ways they express that support. Believed to be the most wide-ranging study ever published on the subject, it is available at www.goodjobsfirst.org.

"The remarkable local support for transit from so many employers is truly heartening," said Greg LeRoy, executive director of Good Jobs First and lead author of the study. "But when will the growing corporate consensus for transit outside the Beltway translate into stronger action inside the Beltway?"

At the national level, many businesses belong to the American Public Transportation Association. Others participate within the Community Transportation Association of America and the Association for Commuter Transportation.

The study profiles:

  • Washington University in St. Louis, anchor of Citizens for Modern Transportation;
  • Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals of Cleveland and the HealthLine, a successful Bus Rapid Transit line;
  • Friends of Transit in the Phoenix metropolitan area;
  • The Baton Rouge General Medical Center;
  • Amalgamated Transit Union Local 726 on Staten Island;
  • Move LA, nearly doubling Los Angeles County's fixed-guideway transit system;
  • Ameriprise Financial in Minneapolis;
  • Purple Line Now!, a coalition in the inner-ring Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C.;
  • Transportation Management Association of Lake-Cook, north of Chicago;
  • McCaffery Interests, a Chicago-based development firm;
  • United Streetcar of Clackamas, Ore., rebirthing streetcar manufacturing; and

  • "Third-party administrators" such as WageWorks and Edenred that process monthly transit benefits.
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