Invest in mass transit now!

Posted on August 20, 2009 by Alex Roman - Also by this author

Transportation for America and the Transportation Equity Network recently released a report, Stranded at the Station: The Impact of the Financial Crisis in Public Transportation, which stated that citizens across the nation are being hurt by the fare increases and service cuts that public transportation agencies are forced to make. The report is the first that focuses on the “conundrum” of increased demand for service, coupled with the worst funding crisis in decades. In its detailed examination of 25 transit systems, the authors found that local transit revenues are taking a huge hit because of the economy and that those effects are being compounded by failures in federal policy. The authors also note that these cuts and fare hikes disproportionately harm older Americans and racial minorities, populations that account for nearly 48 percent of households without a vehicle.

With agencies around the nation continually exploring ways to maintain services and increase their fleets, including proposing tax referendums, which get shot down, it seems that states alone have no chance to step up and help fill the gap, especially here in California where the legislators cannot even agree on a budget. So, are agencies really out of luck on the state level? If so, what in the world can the feds do to rectify the situation? It seems to me that time is running out to make something happen. 

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