There is a certain happiness sighted when your bus comes along. It is of course a small specialized form of happiness and will never be a great thing.

-Richard Brautigan, The Old Bus

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Stimulating the economy by building transit

If you are interested in improving transit and moving our nation away from its car-centric development focus, visit Transportation for America at

Transportation for America is made up of a growing and diverse coalition focused on creating a national transportation program that will take America into the 21st century by building a modernized infrastructure and healthy communities where people can live, work and play.
Work is ongoing in Washington to develop a real stimulus package that would generate jobs by accelerating the construction of transit projects around the country.

Former Sacramento Regional Transit General Manager Beverly Scott, who today is general manager of Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority and the current chair of the American Public Transportation Association, testified yesterday (Oct. 29) before the House Committee On Transportation And Infrastructure.

In the testimony she offers a number of facts about transit and its role in the community that more people need to hear about:
  • Every $1 communities invest in public transportation generates approximately $6 in economic returns.
  • Last year, 10.3 billion trips were taken on U.S. public transportation – the highest number of trips taken in 50 years.
  • Public transportation use is up 32 percent since 1995, a figure that is more than double the growth rate of the population (13 percent) and up substantially over the growth rate for the vehicle miles traveled (VMT) on our nation’s highways (24 percent) for that same period.
  • Transit ridership grew by more than 5.2 percent in the second quarter of 2008, while the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has reported that the vehicle miles traveled on our nation’s roads declined by 3.3 percent.
  • On average, a transit user saves more than $9,499 per year by taking public transportation instead of driving.
  • In a typical two-adult, two-car household where both adults commute separately by car, if one adult switches a 20-mile total round-trip commute to existing public transportation, that adult's annual carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will fall by 4,800 pounds per year, equal to a 10 percent reduction in all greenhouse gases produced by members of the household.
  • If a two-car family does without one of the cars and takes public transportation, walks or rides bicycles instead, the family can realize a savings of up to 30 percent in carbon dioxide emissions. This is more CO2 savings than if that household went without electricity.
  • By reducing travel and congestion on roadways and supporting more efficient land use patterns, transit saves the U.S. 4.2 billion gallons of gasoline each year, the equivalent of more than 11 million gallons per day. That amount of savings is equivalent to oil refined from 102 supertankers, or more than three times the amount of oil we import from Kuwait each year.
You can read her testimony here.

I heartily endorse Dr. Scott's concluding statement:
An investment in public transit is – the single “best bet” that we can place as a nation.


Pantograph Trolleypole said...

Did you make that square badge? It's much better for blogs than the long one!

John said...

Yes. Made it myself. I was surprised T4 doesn't have a "link to us" page with those already made up.