President Trump told Congress last week that if we would have spent the $6 trillion we’ve spent fighting wars in the Middle East on U.S. infrastructure, we could have completely fixed it – twice. And now APTA has a new report showing lots of interesting transit-ridership trends and why a good portion of that potential funding should go to transit.
The share of riders using public transit for shopping has more than doubled since 2007, while 87 percent of trips are to commute to work or run errands, the report found. The American Public Transportation Association released its findings as Trump talks of investing $1 trillion in infrastructure. It’s unclear how that money will be spent, and what share public transit will receive.
People use public transit 35 million times each weekday, yet ridership is dropping in some places, including New York, Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles. Commuters are gravitating away from dated, unreliable systems. Forty percent of buses and 25% of rail transit are in marginal or poor condition, according to a government study.
“There is a new face of public transportation,” Darnell Grisby, the association’s director of policy and research, told CNNTech. “Public transportation is more essential to American daily life than ever before.”
His organization believes public transit needs to receive an additional $10 billion annually to be funded adequately.
Meanwhile, public transit trips made by riders earning more than $100,000 have more than doubled since 2007. Now 21% of all rides are made by people earning over $100,000 — the same percentage comprised of people making under $15,000. Slightly more than half of public public riders have a bachelor’s degree or more education.
As environmentally minded millennials crowd into revitalizing cities, public transportation is being embraced in a way it wasn’t previously.
Grisby said there are public transportation success stories in every region of the country, and highlighted Seattle, Denver, Los Angeles and New York. Eleven light rail and streetcar systems have opened since 2007.