Transit Usage Increases While Subsidies Decrease

It's the best and worst times for public transit. More travelers are turning to transit, but without additional subsidies, public transit across the U.S. is hurting. This editorial look toward the federal government to increase transit funding

"(T)he number of trips taken annually on public transit is now more than 10 billion and rising, compared with 7.8 billion trips in 1995, outstripping population growth and the number of miles traveled on streets and highways."

Yet federal funding has not increased. "Of the 18.4 cents per gallon federal gas tax, only 2.86 cents goes to public transit and almost all of the rest is reserved for highways." The tax has not increased since 1993, unlike transit fares that increase regularly.

"Ridership, which dipped during the recession in 2009, is rising again as more baby boomer retirees take buses and high gas prices push more people to try the thriftier option. Even some cities in areas dominated by cars - like Dallas and Salt Lake City - have expanded their public transit systems."

Consequently, the prediction for America's transit to meet the increased needs is not good.

"We will be back where we were in the 1970s and 1980s, where the older systems across the country are literally falling apart", warned Elliot Sander, chairman of the Regional Plan Association of NY, NJ, and CT.

Thanks to Tony Donovan

Full Story: The Recession Squeeze On Buses and Trains

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