Thursday, February 9, 2012

Save Public Transit: Don't Let U.S. Become Another Detroit


Faces of Transportation 11-30-11 from Project S.N.A.P. on Vimeo.

In the past few months, there's been a lot of transit news in Michigan, from the unfolding saga of Woodward Avenue rail to new efforts to forge a regional transit authority. But meanwhile, metro Detroit's public transit crisis continues to upend people's lives. The video above, produced by University of Michigan School of Public Health students for community organizing group MOSES, may be the most eloquent testimony yet to the trials of living in constant doubt of the basic individual right to move about.

And now, that grim state of affairs could spread across the country if Congress passes the House of Representatives' transportation bill.

Bus service in Detroit is so bad because the city still pays for transit out of its general fund, instead of through a special regional tax or some other dedicated funding source. That forces transit to compete with other programs - and means that transit constantly gets the ax, since riders are usually a poorer, less powerful subset of the citizenry.

This is precisely the situation that the House bill proposes to take nationwide. The bill eliminates all dedicated federal money for public transit, a provision that's been around since the Reagan adminstration, and makes vital transit funding compete with other priorities. It's a slap in the face to transit riders across the country, like the already suffering individuals in the video above, and it has to be stopped. Follow the link here to do your part.

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