Americans rode subways, buses and commuter railroads in record numbers in the third quarter of this year, even as gas prices dropped and unemployment rose. The 6.5 percent jump in transit ridership over the same period last year marks the largest quarterly increase in public transportation ridership in 25 years, according to a survey to be released today by the American Public Transportation Association.Full story.
"It's very rare to see when virtually every part of the country and every mode of transit is up," said APTA President William W. Millar. "As other costs in their lives have gone up, Americans are looking for ways to economize, and in most communities, transit is still a bargain."
The trends are likely to boost support for more transit funds in the economic stimulus package that Congress will send to President-elect Barack Obama. With the economy in a recession, Obama pledged Saturday to create the largest public works construction program since the building of the federal interstate highway system in the 1950s.
At a meeting with Obama in Philadelphia last week, governors estimated there were $136 billion in "ready-to-go" projects that go beyond traditional bridge and road repairs to include public transit, water and sewer plants ("Republican California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger agreed the nation needs to invest in infrastructure, particularly high-speed rail. “It’s time we got our act together,” he said.").
Public transportation advocates say investing in transit creates jobs, reduces America's dependence on foreign oil and helps combat climate change.
I couldn't locate any details on what Sonny submitted for the "ready-to-go" projects list or where he stood on federal assistance for the states. Let me know if you hear anything.