When people in urban and rural areas need to commute to their jobs, schools, doctors, or just to see their families, millions of them use public transportation whether it is a train, bus, ferry or some other form of mass transit. Using public transit helps reduce traffic, greenhouse gas emissions, and America’s dependence on foreign oil. The statistics regarding transit ridership are impressive. According to the American Public Transportation Association, public transportation ridership grew 36 percent from 1995 to 2008, almost three times the growth rate of the U.S. population (14 percent). And passengers took 10.5 billion trips and rode transit vehicles for 55.1 billion miles in 2008. The nation’s largest transit agency, MTA New York City Transit, carried passengers on 3.3 billion trips for 11.9 billion miles. Public transit reduces petroleum consumption by a total of 1.4 billion gallons of gasoline each year. This represents 108 million fewer cars filling up – almost 300,000 everyday (ICF International, 2007). In 2006, public transit around the country saved 3.4 billion gallons of oil and prevented 26 million tons of greenhouse gases (Maryland Public Interest Research Group, 2008). Public transit users save more than $9,381 per year by taking public transportation instead of driving (American Public Transportation Association, 2010).
As urban areas continue to grow, and roads reach their capacity, there will be an increased demand for transit buses, trains, vans, and other means to move people efficiently and without harming the environment. We must continue to make smart investments in our mass transit systems so that people will have choices when it comes to their mobility.
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“Our roads, our bridges……it’s a core function of government. But it’s also an economic development issue.”