Why the Federal Government Should Fund Transit Service

Although federal transit funding is traditionally reserved for capital improvement and infrastructure projects, advocates argue that funding improved service could have transformative impacts on transit-dependent communities.

1 minute read

April 27, 2021, 9:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Rian Castillo / Flickr

In a blog post, TransitCenter, a New York-based transit advocacy organization, joins other transit advocates in a call to making public transit funding a federal priority long after pandemic-related emergency measures are lifted. COVID-19 only served to highlight existing gaps in transit service and the stark inequities faced by transit users. "[A]fter the pandemic recedes, a federal program to support transit service could yield immense dividends," the blog notes.

"In most American cities, the fundamental shortcoming of transit is its sheer scarcity." Allowing "transit agencies to spend federal funds to run buses and trains" after the pandemic, while "a break with longstanding policy," is "the fastest way to deliver better transit networks, improve the experience of current riders, and increase ridership" through increased service.

TransitCenter offers an analysis of the projected effects of a $20 billion investment in transit service nationwide, which, according to an analysis by the Urban Institute, could "be more than enough to bring transit service in every U.S. urban area up to the level in the Chicago region." Such a program, TransitCenter argues, could yield immense benefits for transit riders. "Instead of cutting people off from opportunity, condemning households to struggle with high transportation costs, and overheating the planet, our transportation systems can advance economic fairness, racial equity, and climate action."

Monday, April 19, 2021 in TransitCenter

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