Chuggin’ Along

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Thursday, November 6, 2008
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As AN reported yesterday, California voters came out in force to favor a handful of pro-transit and planning initiatives, a trend that swept the country on election day. According to a press release from the America Public Transportation Association (APTA), 16 states approved 23 ballot measures on Tuesday, dedicating some $75 billion to transit-oriented projects.

William Millar, the APTA president, applauded American’s for their historic vote:

It is significant to note that in a time of economic uncertainty, more than 70 percent of transit-related ballot measures passed as people voted to raise public revenue in order to improve public transportation. Americans understand that public transportation has many benefits. Taking public transportation is the quickest way to beat high gas prices and save money.  It is also one of the most effective actions a person can take to reduce carbon emissions and fight climate change.

In total, 32 initiatives were on the ballots Tuesday. Beyond the California votes, APTA singled out Seattle’s plan to expand commuter rail, as well as a similar but smaller one in Honolulu that set aside $3.7 billion. And the Mahoning County (home to Youngstown) system was kept alive thanks to an increase of the local sales tax by 0.25 points.

In two separate releases, the association also congratulated President-Elect Obama, in light of his transit advocacy–something we recently mentioned–and noted that Americans can, on average, save a shocking $9,000 each year by riding public transporation, even factoring in the recent declines in gas prices. Who saves the most? You guessed it: New Yorkers, who save nearly $13,000 a year. It almost justifies everything else being so damn expensive, doesn’t it?

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