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U.S. leaders might 'miss the bus' on fair transport

20 February 2012 - Quality and affordable transportation access is more critical than ever for linking Americans to jobs, schools, grocery stores, hospitals, and other vital services. Yet the U.S. Congress is preparing to vote on a proposal that would strip away all investments in public transit, leaving countless communities disconnected from opportunity.

The proposed cuts of the H.R. 7 bill , also known as the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act of 2012, would sever key public transit options like buses, from an important source of funding, that of gas tax revenues. This would in turn strike a devastating blow to communities already living without adequate transportation options, and would continue to support blatant inequities in the U.S. transport system.

Today, nearly 24 percent of blacks, 17 percent of Latinos, and 13 percent of Asians do not own a car; 60 percent of all public transit riders are people of colour. These disparities are largely due to the fact that U.S. transportation policy and investment have historically favoured middle-class and affluent neighbourhoods at the expense of low-income communities and communities of colour.

Advocates, policymakers and ordinary citizens alike must demand wiser investment of transportation dollars to reduce the burden on the millions of workers, students, business owners, healthcare providers, and other everyday Americans who rely on efficient public transit systems to live. Otherwise, a lack of transport will continue to be a proxy for leaving whole communities out of the mainstream.

The future of U.S. cities, regions and the country’s mobility depends on choices  Americans make today. With the recent launch of Smart Move in the U.S., they need to make sure that U.S. leaders don't miss the bus on this one!


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