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America Loves Transit


The graph above comes courtesy of Transportation for America’s recent comprehensive survey.  Of course, I’ve been writing quite a bit this month about our road systems, urban living, and the effects commuting can have on our lives, and according to T4A, it looks like the vast majority of Americans can at least agree on one solution: better mass transit.

Of course, when you say “mass transit” a lot of people in our part of the country think about dirty buses with smelly hobos urinating on the seats and/or trying to karate-chop you.

The reality, though, is that mass transit is whatever we fund it to become.   As American’s, we’ve been fed the “lure of the open road” and “the ultimate driving experience” in 30-second highlight clips for decades.  We could all probably name some features that we consider “must-haves” in an automobile we were looking to purchase (power windows, sun-roof, cruise-control, seat warmer, cocktail mixer, etc), but how long would you have to think to come up with a list of must-have features for mass-transit?

The charts above and below show that a lot of people agree that mass transit is a good idea, especially if we put our tax dollars to fund it.  I don’t know the math behind federal funding for mass transit, but I’m sure it could benefit from some of the programs being used for endless highway build-outs.

More than four-in-five voters (82 percent) say that “the United States would benefit from an expanded and improved transportation system, such as rail and buses” and a solid majority (56 percent) “strongly agree” with that statement. This is a widely held view with overwhelming majorities of voters in every region of the country and in every type of community. Fully 79 percent of rural voters agreed with the statement, despite much lower use of public transportation compared to Americans in urban areas.

When asked about reducing traffic congestion, three-in-five voters choose improving public transportation and making it easier to walk and bike over building more roads and expanding existing roads (59% to 38%). […]

These same respondents would prefer to almost double the allocation to public transportation, saying that 37 cents of every federal transportation dollar is what they think should be the norm. Fully 59% of the electorate cite some amount that is greater than what the federal government currently spends (18 cents or greater). (source)

Think about it, we’ve debated health-care and lack of insurance and how hard it is for working class Americans to get the things they need in life over-and-over-again for the last year.  Here’s a solution that can attack a basic factor in the problem:  Make it easier for someone to get to work/school, and they can use it to get to a better place in life. Instead of addressing the symptoms, let’s attack the disease.

(This is Day 16 of the 30 Day Blog Challenge, be sure to check out the other participants at #30DayBC)

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