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Lawrence J. Hanley

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Public Transportation: A Missed Opportunity to Create Jobs

Posted: 07/11/2012 11:00 am

Last week's disappointing June jobs growth report was not welcome news to the thousands of Americans still out of work.

Congress had an opportunity to address the workforce shortage with the recently passed transportation bill, but squandered that opportunity by failing to fund mass transit in this legislation.

Investment in public transportation can stimulate the economy and create jobs. More than 570 jobs are created for each $10 million invested in the short term. According to the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), every $1 billion invested in public transportation creates and supports 36,000 American jobs. That is real job growth.

Mass transit is a stimulant for the economy in so many ways. Direct investment into transit operations means more public transportation and lower fares, which in turn helps local businesses. It brings people with jobs to their stores with more money in their pockets so they can buy things.

More jobs and more business. Isn't that the very definition of economic recovery?

Instead, working families will continue to suffer. The American mass transit crisis will become worse under this legislation with hidden taxes on commuters and transit riders though increasing fares while forcing cash-strapped transit systems to cut more service.

Unfortunately Senate and House leadership does not understand that, and they blew a real opportunity with the transportation bill. Until lawmakers support and fund public transportation, we will continue to see underwhelming job growth numbers.

 
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