Today’s print edition of the New York Times has a very strong editorial on why President-elect Obama must make transit a priority. Here is a sample:
Unlike President Bush, Barack Obama is going to enter office with a clear appreciation of the urgent problems of climate change and America’s growing dependency on foreign oil — and a strong commitment to address both.
One way he can do this is to give mass transit — trains, buses, commuter rails — the priority it deserves and the full financial and technological help it needs and has long been denied. Mass transit has always played second fiddle to the automobile, so Mr. Obama will need strong allies.
For years, the division of transportation money in Washington has heavily favored cars and trucks — more than 80 percent of the big transit money from gas taxes goes to highways and bridges, and less than 20 percent to railroads or mass transit.
The new administration could further help mass transit by shelving the unfair “cost effectiveness index” that President Bush put in place several years ago for new transit programs. The net effect of this index was to make it easier to build highways and almost impossible to use federal money for buses, streetcars, light rail, trolleys — indeed, any commuter-rail projects.
Click here for the complete editorial.
I want to thank the person who wrote this editorial as they clearly understand the importance of investing in our country’s transit infrastructure. For too long, mass transit has been treated as a stepchild by our country. The attitude was if you did not drive, you were not worth investing in.
Now those of us who understand our country’s needs knows this attitude is the exact opposite of what should be happening. A strong transit infrastructure is one of the most important aspects to a strong & healthy economy. This has been proven time & time again throughout the years yet the stigma against it has not changed.
Here is to hoping that the new administration is serious about making mass transit a priority. I & many others hope that the lack of talk about mass transit projects in recent video messages to the nation are not a sign of things to come. Mass transit users (I do drive but prefer mass transit) deserve an equal share of t he pie!
xoxo Transit Blogger