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Reinventing Transit: American Communities Finding Smarter, Cleaner, Faster Transportation Solutions

Posted by Content Coordinator on Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE FUND
“Recent events have put the United States’ transportation system at a fundamental crossroads. After decades of growth, car travel began to slow in 2005 and soon gave way to an unprecedented decline.2 This drop is in part due to fluctuating fuel prices, but also because of the diminishing number of new drivers and increased travel choices made available from investments in the 1990s. Meanwhile, transit ridership increased dramatically in recent years, remaining strong even as gas prices dropped steeply in late 2008 (Figure 1).3 However, despite surging transit demand, diminishing tax revenues are forcing many municipalities to make draconian service cuts and layoffs to close budget gaps in their transit systems. In the face of these trends, the United States is now poised for a large-scale investment in its transportation infrastructure. The Obama administration and Congress enacted an economic stimulus package to create new jobs through new infra structure investment. President Obama has also proposed a National Infra- structure Bank to finance future infrastructure needs. Furthermore, Congress will be writing a new federal transportation authorization when the current law (SAFETEA-LU) expires in September 2009. But regardless of which mechanisms ultimately yield federal transportation funding, questions remain about how those funds should be spent to address national priorities. Will a large share go for road expansions that compound the long-term problems of traffic congestion, air pollution, sprawl, oil dependence and global warming? Or will we see new emphasis on sustainable transportation options that provide more affordable com mutes, reduce pollution and generate a permanent stream of operating jobs well into the future? Now is the time for state and local officials to think creatively about new forms of transportation that match the increasing demand for public transit and address national priorities on energy, the environment and the economy…”

Reinventing Transit

About Environmental Defense Fund
www.edf.org
“Environmental Defense Fund is a leading national nonprofit organization representing more than 500,000 members.  Since 1967, we have linked science, economics and law to create innovative, equitable and cost-effective solutions to society’s most urgent environmental problems…Environmental Defense Fund is dedicated to protecting the environmental rights of all people, including future generations. Among these rights are access to clean air and water, healthy and nourishing food, and flourishing ecosystems.”

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