In communities across the country, public transportation is the vital lifeline people rely on to get to their homes, jobs, schools, and job training programs. But underinvestment that has led to unreliable or inadequate service prevents transit systems from meeting or driving demand. Riders often find bus and subway systems undependable, unpredictable, and in some cases, even dangerous. As a result, our roads become more congested as commuters find alternative methods of getting around. Transit workers themselves are required to do more with less, and often find the demands of their jobs changed by technological advances, with no training programs in place to help them meet those new needs.
New research shows that commuting time – not education or family structure – is emerging as the strongest factor in determining whether someone can escape poverty, and access to public transportation plays a crucial role in economic mobility. For the millions of Americans who cannot afford a vehicle, a simple bus or subway route can mean the difference between a life of poverty or access to opportunity.
Presidential candidates who care about the health and wellbeing of this country’s economy, and the ability of working families to achieve middle-class status, must commit to increasing funding for vital public transportation services.