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Saturday, November 28 2015 @ 06:24 PM UTC

Transit to Jobs Equals Economy

Mass TransitBy Fawn Johnson, Correspondent, National Journal

"Trying to market a city without transit is like trying to sell a cell phone without a camera." That was one of the take-home messages from a speaker at an urban planning conference earlier this year, according to my friend who was there. The room was full of city planners who are trying to convince businesses to settle in their areas. Transit is considered key not just because it gives people an easy way to get to work, but it also signals to the private sector that a city is healthy enough to invest in itself.

Melaniphy believes the public and local leaders are way ahead of Congress in terms of willingness to finance transit. APTA spent much of the last year simply trying to protect existing federal funds from being cut in a two-year highway bill. Around the country, the attitude was different. In 2012, local initiatives to tax more for transit had a 79 percent passage rate. Last year, the rate was 76 percent. "The mayors get it," Melaniphy said. The state of cities' transit systems are among the top five questions asked of city officials by businesses looking to locate there.

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