Mass transit needs far more stimulus help to offset local budget cuts, but cannot get it because some say buses, trolleys, and trains are not "shovel-ready." America's automakers keep getting aid, even when a bailout is only a shovel to dig their own grave.
Commuter bus service will run between York, PA and Timonium, MD
Rabbit Transit logoOn February 2nd, rabbittransit launched a new commuter bus route from York, PA to Timonium/Hunt Valley.
Rabbit Transit Express Commuter BusThe service offers 3 trips each way daily, Monday through Friday and stops at any MTA bus stop along the route. All buses are equipped with satellite TV, reclining seats, and bicycle storage.
Riders who are registered and ride to work at least twice a week are eligible to receive free emergency rides home.
With ridership at record highs, transit agencies across the country are facing unprecedented fiscal crises in this economic downturn, with many considering layoffs, service cuts and fare hikes that are hitting at the worst possible time, a compilation of nationwide data shows. This map below, compiled from nationwide media coverage of proposed cuts, highlights 38 communities across the U.S. that face job cuts, service reductions and fare hikes, but will receive no assistance under the current recovery proposals before Congress to prevent these painful cuts.
Emergency operating assistance in the recovery package will create and save jobs immediately with relatively limited investment. Every $1 billion invested in public transit operations generates 60,000 jobs.
“Our economy increasingly relies on public transit to function effectively, yet local systems are being forced to lay off workers and make cuts that will slow down economic growth and punish workers — including many low-income households who rely on transit to reach jobs,” said Geoff Anderson, co-chair of Transportation For America. “If we are serious about putting Americans back-to-work with this recovery plan, shouldn’t we also ensure that those who already have jobs don’t lose them?”
BALTIMORE (December 18, 2008) - After several months of public outreach and involvement, the BRTB is pleased to present, for public review and comment, the draft preferred alternative for the amendment to the Baltimore region's long-range transportation plan, Transportation Outlook 2035: Creating a Blueprint for the Baltimore Region's Future.
This Draft Preferred Alternative proposes $225 million in funding for regional transit projects, beginning in the year 2020.
The mix of projects includes:
* Green Line Transit - Preliminary Engineering
* Park-and-Ride spaces - averaging $10,000/space for 2,000 spaces in Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Harford, and Howard counties
* Carroll County - transit vehicles and amenities
* Intermodal Facilities /MARC stations/ Transit Oriented Development (TOD) -
o $10 million/facility average, 3 of 4 (smaller type facilities such as bus to bus: Central Maryland Transit Operations Facility (CMTOF), Columbia, Snowden Square, Parole)
o $20 million/facility average (larger type facilities such as rail to rail or bus: Lexington Market, or other Baltimore City location)
o MARC station(s) not currently included in TO2035, i.e. Odenton, West Baltimore, or East Baltimore Development Initiative (EBDI)
* Dedicated bus lanes - in congested corridors such as I-695, MD 152, US 29, MD 2
Expanding roads and highways will take us backwards, rather than move us toward a true recovery. Building new highways provides fewer jobs than building public transportation infrastructure. According to Surface Transportation Policy Partnership, you get 19 percent more jobs with public transportation investments than with new roads and highway spending. Stimulating our economy effectively means investing in the infrastructure that gives us the most bang for our buck. Highways don't do that.
However, special attention should be paid to the kinds of infrastructure projects to be funded, and how these projects fit into a broader, long-range plan. We're at a transformational moment when economic competitiveness, energy independence, responding to climate change, and developing a transportation system for the 21st century can all converge. The New England region can do its part by being ready with a model plan that transcends traditional boundaries.
The Obama administration should assess the projects that will bring infrastructure systems into the 21st century, jump-start the economy, and prepare for the post-carbon, post-cheap oil future. Not just any old infrastructure will do.
Instead of new highways, which often enable unsustainable land development patterns, the policy should be "fix it first" - keeping existing roads and bridges in a state of good repair. The major infrastructure projects in any stimulus package should emphasize transit - bus systems, streetcars, light rail, and inter-city rail - and moving more freight capacity to rail as well.
* From 1995 through 2005, public transportation ridership increased by 25 percent, 1,3 a growth rate higher than the 11 percent increase in U.S. population4 and higher than the 22 percent growth in use of the nation's highways over the same period.
* Without public transportation, travel delays would have increased by 27 percent.
* Public transportation produces 95 percent less carbon monoxide (CO), 90 percent less in volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and about half as much carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOx), per passenger mile, as private vehicles.
* Real estate-residential, commercial or business-that is served by public transportation is valued more highly by the public than similar properties not as well served by transit.
* More than four in five seniors believe public transportation is a better alternative to driving alone, especially at night.
Each year, public transportation use in the U.S. saves:
* 1.4 billion gallons of gasoline, representing 4 million gallons of gasoline per day
* The equivalent of 34 supertankers of oil, or a supertanker leaving the Middle East every 11 days
* The equivalent of 140,769 fewer service station tanker trucks clogging our streets each year
* The equivalent of 300,000 fewer automobile fill-ups each day
In addition to reduced pollution, direct health benefits of public transportation include:
* Lower rates of respiratory and heart disease. The health effects of mobile source pollution can be severe and even life-threatening, particularly to children, older adults and adults with respiratory illnesses. Many groups are at greater risk because of chronic lung or cardiovascular disease, including people with diabetes, whose cardiovascular systems are threatened by particle pollution.
* Lower accident rates. According to a 2006 report, public transit has 0.03 fatal accidents per 100 million miles-about 1/25th the rate for automobiles; injuries as well as fatalities are reduced.19
* Quality of life. Public transportation fosters a more active lifestyle, encouraging more people to walk, bike and jog to transit stops. An analysis of 2001 National Household Travel Survey data for transit users finds that walking to and from transit helps inactive persons attain a significant portion of the recommended minimum daily exercise they need; 29 percent of respondents get 30 minutes or more of exercise a day from walking to or from transit.20
"Vehicle trip rates of transit-oriented housing projects were particularly low in metropolitan Washington, D.C. and Portland, Oregon, both known for successful TOD planning at the regional and corridor levels. Trip rates also generally fell as neighborhood densities increased. Local officials should account for the lower automobile use of those residing in TOD housing through such measures as traffic impact-fee adjustments and reduced off- street parking requirements."