Below is our recent media release (co-release with ATU International) regarding Obama’s Energy Security Trust proposal. We welcome your thoughts!
Obama’s Energy Security Trust Must Also Invest in Public Transportation: Transit advocates say mass transit is cleanest transportation
Washington, DC – Investment in mass transit through President Obama’s proposed Energy Security Trust Fund is critical to weaning U.S. transportation away from dependence on oil and gas, public transit advocates argued.
“The proposed Energy Security Trust is a good first step,” says Larry Hanley, International President of the Amalgamated Transit Union, the largest union representing transit workers in North America. “However, focusing the trust’s investment solely on clean fuels ignores the fact that riding public transportation – buses, subways, light trains and ridesharing – is the most effective way to promote a cleaner and safer environment.”
The coalition noted that studies show that public transportation is one of the most effective tools to reduce carbon emissions, and that most people when polled say they would take transit if they had access to it. Each bus takes 35 cars off the road. Current public transportation usage already reduces U.S. gasoline consumption by 1.4 billion gallons each year. For every mile traveled on public transit, riders produce 95 percent less carbon dioxide than driving.
Demand for transit has never been stronger, advocates note. In 2012, voters approved 76 percent of all state and local ballot measures for transit. Ridership has hit historic highs despite the weak recovery.
However, despite such strong demand, many transit agencies have been forced to slash service, increase fares, and abandon routes, advocates say. Those cuts have been caused by state and local tax revenue declines, and need to be offset by increased federal investments.
“We applaud Obama’s goals to create new jobs, reduce carbon emissions, and reinvest in our local economics,” Andrew Austin, Executive Director of Americans for Transit. “We encourage him to carve out a significant portion of the clean energy trust fund to invest in clean transportation modes, not just clean fuels.”