A new transportation bill is going to decide how the United States spends money on transportation for the next six years. Unfortunately, those to whom this legislation has the most impact have the smallest voice. According to the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights report “Where We Need to Go: A Civil Rights Roadmap for Transportation Equity“, most funds only cover highways and very little public transportation. Millions of poor and working-class people are cut off from being able to go anywhere because the average cost of owning a car is around $9,500 a year and the current poverty level is at $22,350. I’ve long been a proponent of public transportation for it’s efficiency but it’ll never work as well in the United States as it does in countries in Europe due to our population density. This does NOT mean we don’t need it. We sprawled ourselves out much too far and built too many roads out to suburbs, roads that require upkeep and gas taxes to maintain. Now we pay the price for making the wrong investments without seeing the true cost of a highway system that squeezes every dollar out of American transportation funding.
Public transportation is very important in urban areas, and without it, many can not get to the job they need to live the American dream. It seems that the millions of Americans who have always had access to a personal vehicle don’t understand the lives of people who don’t, and don’t want to pay for them to have an opportunity to work and contribute to society. As a country we need to rethink our transportation policies, so that highway drivers understand the real cost of an American transportation system, and mass transit is finally given the funding it needs to become useful to Americans in highly populated areas.
Full article in Wired.