9 Dec 2008
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Wanna stimulate the economy? Invest in transit
Like many economy-watchers, President-Elect Barack Obama believes the recession is going to get significantly worse before it gets better, as he said during an interview with Tom Brokaw that aired on Sunday's "Meet the Press." The good news is Obama and his economic team are formulating a new stimulus plan to infuse more money into the economy — and it likely will include funding for ready-to-go infrastructure projects.
Obama's plan calls for "making the single-largest new investment in our national infrastructure since the creation of the federal highway system in the 1950s," as he said in a radio address last weekend.
Mr. President-Elect, meet Mr. Bill Millar, president of the American Public Transportation Association, who issued a statement yesterday regarding your stimulus plan. Bill would like to congratulate you on your support for transportation infrastructure investment ... and tell you that investing in public transit can create hundreds of thousands of jobs ... and let you know that APTA's member agencies have more than 700 public transportation projects that could be ready within 90 days of federal funding approval ... and remind you that public transit ridership is continuing to soar to record levels despite the drop in gas prices. He also wanted to mention that public transportation plays a critical role in helping to reduce our country's dependence on foreign oil and lower our carbon footprint.
So if you could, please keep all this in mind when formulating your infrastructure plan, Mr. President-Elect. The transit industry can use all the funding it can get — and, increasingly, the country can use all the transit options it can get.