Senate Fight for Transportation Equity

05/28/2010 04:48 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Sometimes, a few words make all the difference.

Eight powerful senators struck a blow for the millions of Americans who depend on public transportation this week, introducing the Public Transportation Preservation Act. The bill would provide $2 billion in funds for transit operations to avoid fare hikes, service cuts, and transit layoffs.

This was very good news. But for TEN, the "why" of the bill is just as important as the "what." The bill's second line reads:

Many low-income workers, older Americans, and people with disabilities depend on transit service to get to jobs and health care. Reduced service and higher fares can have a devastating effect on their quality of life.

It's not every day that Congress puts the needs of low-income people front and center. This bill is proof that Washington is listening to the thousands of TEN members in 41 states--people who are painting giant red Xs on buses and trains about to be cut, people who are speaking out about how transit crises are robbing them of access to jobs, health care, education, and opportunity.

It is inspiring to have eight prominent senators -- Sens. Dodd, Schumer, Menendez, Lautenberg, Durbin, Brown, Reed, and Gillibrand -- say that equity issues are one of the main reasons they support public transportation. It's a sign that they're listening.

We've got a long way to go to get this bill passed, but with your help, we can do it -- and our national transit crises from leaving low-income people stranded at the bus stop.