Public Transit Is a Race and Class Issue

This piece on fair public transit by Amy B. Dean in the Boston Review is infuriating and also illuminating! OBVIOUSLY read the whole thing but here are some EYE POPPING facts:

• “While the average family spends around 19 percent of its budget getting around, very low-income families (defined as families who make less than half of an area’s median income) can see as much as 55 percent of their earnings eaten up by transportation costs, according to a report by the Center for Transit-Oriented Development.”

• “Nearly 20 percent of black households do not have a car, in comparison to 4.6 percent of white households.”

• “Nationwide about 80 cents out of every federal transportation dollar goes toward highways…and only 20 cents goes toward mass transit systems…When it’s time to distribute that 20 percent, regional authorities often favor light-rail systems for suburban commuters over bus lines for city riders.”

But there is some hope because of fixing this mess because of ACTIVISTS and ACTIVISM:

• “In 2010 a multiyear campaign in Minnesota’s Twin Cities came to a close when the Stops for Us coalition compelled local authorities to include three stops for low-income communities on a light-rail project. ‘That line was basically going to zoom right through the African American neighborhoods and not stop,’ says Laura Barrett, executive director of the Transportation Equity Network (TEN), an organizer and pressure group with more than 350 affiliates in 41 states. ‘The reversal that the coalition won was pretty amazing.'”



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