News & Media
Vol. 4, No. 3March 02, 2006
In This Issue …
- Is Transit the Answer to U.S. "Oil Addicition?"
- Virginia Polls Show Support Strong for Transit Investment
- Brookings Institute calls for Reinvestment in America's First Suburbs
- Streetcars in Tucson AZ?
- News Updates
Is Transit the Answer to U.S. "Oil Addiction"?
STUDY HIGHLIGHTS ROLE OF TRANSIT IN REDUCING ENERGY CONSUMPTION
In his State of the Union address, President Bush said the nation was "addicted to oil" and called for efforts to reduce energy consumption and reliance on foreign oil. Two noted economists, Dr. Robert Shapiro and Dr. Kevin Hassett, have released a report that suggest increased investment and use of public transportation could be key to achieving the goal outlined by the President. Among the report's findings is that public transportation saves more than 855 million gallons of gasoline a year, or 45 million barrels of oil.
The report underscores the energy benefit of public transportation compared to other modes of travel. For every passenger mile traveled, public transportation uses about one half of the fuel consumed by automobiles. Transportation accounts for 43 percent of all energy consumption in America . The authors also found that U.S. oil consumption could be cut by 40 percent - an amount roughly equal to the nation's annual oil imports from Saudi Arabia - if 10 percent of daily trips were on public transportation. Such a shift would also benefit air quality by cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 25 percent.
Public transportation providers are also reducing their energy consumption through the rapidly growing use of clean vehicle technology in bus fleets. According to the American Public Transportation Association, 17 percent of buses now use alternative fuels and roughly a quarter of all new bus orders are for alternative fuel vehicles.
Read the Full Report in Trends & Research
Virginia Polls Show Support Strong for Transit Investment
MAJORITY FAVOR MORE FUNDING FOR PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION
Newly elected Virginia Governor Tim Kaine made solving the commonwealth's transportation problems a centerpiece of his winning election strategy. Two new polls show that voters favor increase investment in public transportation as a way to solve the state's transportation and congestion problems. A survey conducted for the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority found that improving public transportation was the top priority for most of the region's Virginia commuters, even for many who do not routinely use transit. Two-thirds of regular transit riders listed improving public transportation as their top priority. The survey also found strong transit support among non-users. Nearly half of those surveyed who do not use transit regularly said public transit was a higher priority than road improvements.
A second poll found that Virginians are willing to fund transit enhancements with their own tax dollars. In a poll conducted for Moving Virginia Forward, Gov. Kaine's political action committee, a majority of those surveyed supported increasing the sales tax on automobiles and some other transportation-related fees to fund "better accountability for how transportation funds are spent, better land use planning to stop sprawl, and long-term investments in transportation." Gov. Kaine has called for increasing transportation funding by $3.7 billion over four years.
2006 Election News
Brookings Institution calls for Reinvestment in America's First Suburbs
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION KEY FOR OLDER SUBURBS
On February 15th the Brookings Institution released report by Rob Fuentes entitled "One - Fifth of America: A comprehensive guide to America's First Suburbs" This report highlights the need for the federal government to invest in infrastructure including transit in areas located right outside of center cities which are referred to as first suburbs. The study found that many of these first suburbs are increasingly experiencing the central-city-like challenges that come with age, the infrastructure of these places, the roads, the schools, the commercial corridors, the housing, is in need of reinvestment and even redevelopment. And like cities, these places are diversifying quickly, and while relatively well-off, are struggling to respond to those challenges. The report outlines a set of policies that would allow these first suburbs to tap into federal resources such as transportation funding that they have often been excluded from.
Read the Report
Streetcars in Tucson, AZ?
TRANSIT CAMPAIGN GETS IN GEAR
On May 16, voters will decide the fate of a 20-year, $2.1 billion transportation plan that calls for levying a half-cent sales tax to pay for road and public-transit improvements. The tax would fund a regional mobility plan that includes bus service upgrades and a "modern streetcar". The regional transportation plan was created by a group of citizens from all walks of life. And this is the first time that every jurisdiction in Pima County , including both local Native American tribes, has voted unanimously to approve the same plan for the region.
There was a similar initiative in November 2003 that was unsuccessful but an even more recent measure seems to suggest that the tide may be shifting. Last year, the City's road tax (Props 100 & 400) did not win even one precinct. They got as little as 12% supports in some precincts. With the May election swiftly approaching it appears that the citizens of Tucson , AZ may finally ready to invest in a multi-modal plan for the future. Stay tuned.
Update on 2006 Ballot Measures
CFTE monitors new developments in public transportation across the nation, including upcoming and potential elections.
2006 News Archive