Statement of Principles
Despite the highest transit ridership in decades, since 2008, transit riders have suffered an endless cycle of service cuts and fare hikes.
Transit is a vital economic lifeline for millions of Americans workers, students, seniors and persons with disabilities.
Transit is an environmental solution to global warming air pollution; growing transit use is the best way the United States can reduce tailpipe emissions, our fastest-growing source of greenhouse gas emissions.
Transit is also critical to revitalizing our cities, older suburbs, and rural towns, linking workers to employment opportunity and affordable housing. It is critical to making our country more resilient to energy price shocks and to sustainably growing our economy long-term.
Whether it is getting to work, school, the grocery store, church, the doctor, relatives, or simply living a fulfilling life, we need affordable and accessible public transportation. However, only through grassroots rider organizing will our voices be heard and the transit crisis in America be reversed.
Americans for Transit is working to build a strong national movement of organized transit riders and coalition partners.
Sigute "Siggy" Melius, Executive Director
Siggy is an activist and Massachusetts native who has been working in progressive movements since 2008. Siggy got her start in transit justice organizing as a student, spending 5 years organizing with transit riders and workers in Southeastern Massachusetts. In that time Siggy's work included organizing winning campaigns for increasing and expanding bus service, stopping fare hikes, and helping pass statewide legislation to give riders a voice and vote on regional transportation boards. Siggy became the first ever rider to sit on the Southeastern Regional Transit Authority Advisory Board. In addition to organizing for improved investment in transportation, Siggy worked to build community through organizing numerous public art installations in an historic immigrant neighborhood in New Bedford, Massachusetts.
Board of Directors:
Larry Hanley, President of the Amalgamated Transit Union, the largest union of transit workers in the United States and Canada, with 200,000 members in about 280 bargaining units. Since September 2010, it has been led by Lawrence J. Hanley, who has been called “a legend” by NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign founder Gene Russianoff in New York City for his history of organizing ATU members to directly fund rider organizing on Staten Island in the mid-1990s, winning the purchase of new equipment and fare reductions that more than doubled ridership.
Greg LeRoy, Executive Director of Good Jobs First is a nationally recognized resource center promoting accountability in economic development and smart growth for working families. Founded in 1998, it created the first labor curriculum on smart growth in 2000, orchestrated the national AFL-CIO convention denouncing sprawl in 2001, and has published more research on the pro-sprawl/anti-transit impact of economic development incentives than any group in the United States. Greg is also the primary author of Transit Rider Organizing: A How-To Manual (2011) and Bosses for Buses: U.S. Employers Supporting Public Transit (2013).
Dr. Beverly Scott, Former General Manager/Chief Executive Officer, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, and formerly the chief executive of transit systems in Atlanta, Sacramento, and Rhode Island, and a high-level executive in the systems of Washington DC, New York City and New Jersey. She is a member of the boards of directors of both Reconnecting America and Rail~Volution.