Mass Transit: Move America to Work
One key to any prosperous economy is a transportation system that works -- that allows workers to get to their jobs and goods to move efficiently. But this essential economic building block is now under severe pressure. What should be getting stronger is getting weaker -- and our economy will suffer the consequences.
Across the country, there has been a surge in mass transit ridership -- on buses, subways, trams. This reflects smart planning and clogged roads. As more people turn to mass transit, our environment and our economy benefit.
But in the brutal recession, transit agencies across the country are being forced to raise fares, cut service, shut down lines and lay off workers. Workers find it harder and more costly to get to jobs. Roads get more crowded. Good transit jobs are lost, and unemployment rises.
The numbers are stark. A new report by Transportation for America and the Transportation Equity Network reveals that 90 percent of transit systems have had to raise fares or cut workers in past year. Ten of the largest systems have had to hike fares by over 10 percent. And it is going to get worse.
The recession has devastated state and local budgets. And the federal system of funding transportation is badly skewed. Only
We are facing a national transit crisis. We should make a serious commitment to strengthening and modernizing our public transit systems. This is a jobs program. Rebuild the rail, make the steel in
This is a green program. Mass transit reduces the use of oil, the clouds of exhaust, the gridlocked roads. All this saves energy and makes the air less toxic.
This is an economic growth program. It not only can create jobs now, it makes it more efficient to move workers and goods.
What we need is action. The Recovery Act last year allocated
We need to think bigger. First, we have to change the policies that choke off funding for urban transit.
This is a country in deep economic trouble. Some 25 million are unemployed. Wages are declining. Good jobs are being sent overseas. We can't go back to an economy built on financial speculation and bubbles. We've got to build a solid foundation for a strong economy where America makes things again. Mass transit -- fast trains, metros, bus lines -- is vital to an efficient economy. We should be making it better, not making it worse. That will require new priorities. Cut back on policing the world, maintaining over 800 bases while fighting two wars at the same time. Require billionaire equity fund managers to pay at least the same tax rate as their secretaries. Tax the big banks to get our money back. And then invest in rebuilding America.
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United States - Mass Transit: Move America to Work | Jesse Jackson
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