UNITED STATES: GOVERNMENT : TRANSPORTATION: PUBLIC URBAN AND PASSENGER: Fed to Mass Transit: Drop Dead

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UNITED STATES: GOVERNMENT : TRANSPORTATION: PUBLIC URBAN AND PASSENGER: Fed to Mass Transit: Drop Dead

David P. Dillard
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Date: Sun, 28 Jun 2009 18:47:09 -0400 (EDT)
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Subject: UNITED STATES: GOVERNMENT : TRANSPORTATION: PUBLIC URBAN AND PASSENGER:
      Fed to Mass Transit: Drop Dead



UNITED STATES: GOVERNMENT :
TRANSPORTATION: PUBLIC URBAN AND PASSENGER: Fed to Mass Transit: Drop Dead



Fed to Mass Transit: Drop Dead

Stimulus funds have kept healthcare and education afloat. No such luck for
America's bus and light-rail riders

Editor's note: David Epstein is a reporter for ProPublica, an independent,
nonprofit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public
interest.

By David Epstein
Salon
Sunday, Jun 28, 2009
<http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2009/06/22/transit/>


June 22, 2009 | When the recession forced the strapped St. Louis Metro to cut
her local bus route in March, Emma Perry's freedom went along with it.

Perry, 58, uses a wheelchair because of a rare neurological disease. For the
last six years, the St. Louis Metro's Call-A-Ride program, which provides
door-to-door transit for disabled citizens -- so long as they are within
three-quarters of a mile of a normal bus route -- has granted Perry the
independence to go to the library, the movie theater, her health center, the
nursing home where she volunteered and the church where she taught and prayed
three to five times a week.

With the nearest route gone, Perry lost her Call-A-Ride service. She's now
largely homebound. "I've lost some of my independence," she says. "I'll never
get used to it."

Federal stimulus funds have swooped in to prevent service cuts to healthcare
and education, but no such remediation has been granted to public transit.
Transit systems nationwide are getting billions for new buses and trains.
According to the language of the stimulus bill, however, the money can't be
spent to run them -- to pay for operating costs like wages and fuel. Although
national mass-transit ridership is at a 50-year high, a recent survey by the
American Public Transportation Association found that 90 percent of transit
agencies have cut service or raised fares.

"One of the difficulties is that capital funds are available," said Alane
Masui, a spokeswoman for the Sacramento Regional Transit District, "but we need
to operate the buses we purchase."

On Thursday, the Senate passed a $106 billion war-funding bill with a partial
fix. The bill includes a provision allowing transit agencies to use up to 10
percent of their stimulus money for operating costs. The legislation will now
go to President Obama for signing, even though the transit provision has drawn
criticism as shortsighted.

"To use money that was supposed to go toward infrastructure investments for
simply operating expenses is wrong," said Rep. Tom Latham, R-Iowa, ranking
member on the House subcommittee that controls transportation spending. This is
supposed to be a stimulus package for infrastructure, not a bailout for local
government.



------------------------------



The complete article may be read at the URL above.



Comment:  With goals of the reduction of dependence on foreign oil and
reduction in the dependence on automobiles for environmental reasons, the
limited support provided by the Obama administration to the operation of public
transportation is very difficult to understand.  One can read much more about
these issues and about the regeneration of Public Transportation and rail
transit on these Yahoo Groups discussion groups:



LightRail_Now <http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/LightRail_Now/>


LRPPro  Light Rail Progress Professional List
<http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/LRPPro/>


Philly_Traction
<http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Philly_Traction>


TheRailroadList
<http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TheRailroadList/>


and this organization:


American Public Transportation Association <http://www.apta.com/>




Sincerely,
David Dillard
Temple University
(215) 204 - 4584
[hidden email]
<http://daviddillard.businesscard2.com>
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Bushell, R. & Sheldon, P. (eds),
Wellness and Tourism: Mind, Body, Spirit,
Place, New York: Cognizant Communication Books.
Wellness Tourism: Bibliographic and Webliographic Essay
David P. Dillard
<http://tinyurl.com/p63whl>
<http://tinyurl.com/ou53aw>



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