One of the biggest rallying cries of this blog is for our elected officials on all levels to step up their commitment to funding our mass transit infrastructure. Many say the right things but don’t back them up with actions. Thankfully for residents of the tri-state area, Senator Clinton does not fall in that category. She penned an editorial which appeared in yesterday’s edition of the New York Daily News. Here is her piece:
New York City puts the mass in mass transit. Our rails, buses and subways carry nearly one- third of the nation’s transit passengers. They provide 8.5 million rides each day and more than 2.6 billion rides a year. The system is larger than the next 10 transit systems combined.
Across the country, communities and states are following New York’s lead. Millions of Americans are clamoring for more public transit. In just the second quarter of this year, Americans took more than 2.8 billion trips on public transportation – 140 million more trips than over the same period last year.
As Americans turn to public transportation in greater and greater numbers, the increased demand reveals a transit system that is overstressed and undersized, overflowing and underfunded. As a result, public transportation networks are now being forced to employ stopgap measures to meet surging demand. For example, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority here in the city is exploring a plan to use folding seats on subway cars in order to pack in more riders. Public transit systems across the country are faced with a tough choice: cut service or raise fares.
For our economy, our environment and the people who depend on public transit, neither is an acceptable option.
It’s time to make public transportation a public priority. Public transportation is a win-win-win scenario. Using public transit can save Americans thousands of dollars a year at the gas pump, reduce congestion on our roadways and help us cut our dependence on foreign oil, which hamstrings our security and pollutes our environment.
That is why I’ve introduced legislation that would authorize $1.7 billion in federal funds, including $237 million for New York, to help mass transit systems across the country expand and prepare for the massive rise in commuters. It’s called the Saving Energy through Public Transportation Act, and it would help people who want to switch from the driver’s seat to the passenger seat on commuter trains and buses, subway cars and public transit systems from coast to coast.
But that should only be the beginning. Our crumbling infrastructure constricts our economy and costs us billions in wasted time and fuel. And our failure to invest in infrastructure today is a burden we place on our children and grandchildren. The National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission estimates that $225 billion each year is required to meet the country’s transportation infrastructure needs. We are investing less than half of that. Every day we fall further behind.
Normally I would link to the editorial after a sample but I felt compelled to share the entire piece. Senator Clinton (who should have been our next President) is spot on with her thoughts on all accounts. Our government needs to seriously invest in our transit infrastructure considering it has been & always will be a viable part of our economy.
A properly funded transit infrastructure will be a guaranteed help to our country in so many ways from the economy to the environment. I can only hope that the clout Senator Clinton carries can help spread this common sense but urgent message to the car obsessed officials currently in power.
xoxo Transit Blogger