Few sectors of our nation's economy can contribute so much to improving our workforce's quality of life and to creating more job growth opportunities than the transportation sector. At the same time, few sectors of the economy can do so much harm to our quality of life and degrade our economic environment as poor transportation services and a lack of transportation options.
Whether it is an office worker stuck in traffic, a car-less worker in need of transportation choices, or someone conducting an employment search that is hindered by limited commuting options, our transportation system significantly affects how we as a nation will prosper or languish economically. Our daily lives are intertwined with transportation because it limits us from, or frees us up for, making better use of our time and resources.
Unfortunately, the Bush administration proposal maintains a severe imbalance between overall road and transit funding where roads receive $4 for every $1 spent on public transit. The administration's short-sighted proposal keeps transit funding at insufficient, stagnant ratios and the poorest communities that need public transportation the most are those that will be least able to afford it under the Bush administration plan.
From Oregon to Virginia, and from Texas to Wisconsin, the public is eager for transportation choices. Yet, the Bush administration is listening to its backers in the road lobby and pushing roads over transit.
There is a better way to invest in America. We can move our workforce more efficiently and generate more jobs in the transportation, construction, retail, and housing sectors through greater investment in public transportation choices. We will also enjoy benefits including better air and water quality, greater public health, less sprawl, and more independence for our aging population.
A more balanced transportation system that creates opportunities for transit-oriented development and revitalization of urban cores is a winning combination for the economy, for families, and for individual commuters' quality of life. Regardless, as the job market remains sluggish, the Bush administration has again failed to maximize opportunities for economic growth that benefits both the workforce and the environment.
Top right: Photo courtesy www.lightrail.com; used with permission.
Up to Top
Top left: Photo courtesy Sierra Club Collection/Brian Vanneman; all rights reserved.