Join the Movement

Members of Voices for Public Transit know public transportation benefits everyone. We’re keeping it moving.

Join the Movement

Members of Voices for Public Transit know public transportation benefits everyone. We’re keeping it moving.

Voices For Transit

We All Benefit

Whether you ride or not, public transportation benefits all of us. It reduces pollution, eases traffic congestion, and helps our communities thrive. In cities, suburbs, and rural America, public transit provides vital connections to jobs, education, medical care, and our larger communities. Help us keep America moving.

  • Midwest Voters to Decide the Future of Local Public Transportation

    Funding for public transportation can be intricate, and ballot measures, referenda, and other initiatives aimed at improving public transit often pass or fail by extremely slim margins.

    There’s no shortage of local contests in the Midwest, especially in Indiana and Ohio:

    • In Indianapolis and Marion County, voters will decide on a measure to provide $56 million in annual funding for IndyGo, the city’s popular bus service.
    • In Ohio, voters in Franklin County (Columbus), Lorain County, and Stark County face major decisions on the future of transportation. Columbus’s Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) hopes voters will renew 0.25-percent sales tax for 10 years, which is estimated to generate about $62 million a year for the transit authority in the busy state capital area.
    • In Illinois, voters will decide the fate of proposed Amendment HJR CA36 — the Transportation Taxes and Fees Lockbox Amendment — which will ensure that transportation-related fees and taxes are only used to support transportation projects, including public transit.

    These referendums highlight the need for our continued support of public transportation issues, and more importantly — the need to get out and vote!

    Public transit advocates and supporters can play an important role in helping to pass local public transportation ballot measures needed to meet the funding federal dollars don’t cover. You can help ensure public transit moves forward in your community by:

    Even if such measures aren’t up for a vote in your community this election, remember that state and local elected representatives often have the power to get future issues on the ballot — so make sure you know what your candidates think about public transportation.

  • Local Public Transportation at Stake in the Southeast

    A number of local government authorities like cities, counties, and municipalities help fund worthwhile public transit projects — but typically, the measures they use to provide funding must be approved by local voters.

    Election Day 2016 will see important ballot measures decided across the country, including in Southeastern states like Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia.

    • A compromise on SB 369 was hammered out among Georgia state legislators at the 11th hour in Atlanta and approved by the city council. Voters will decide on a measure to pay for $2.5 billion in funding over the next 40 years to support bus and rail expansion projects in Atlanta, as well as other service enhancements. However, the deal allows the rest of Fulton County to opt out of future proposals in order to appease representatives who strongly oppose tax increases.
    • In Greensboro and Wake County, North Carolina, residents will be voting on measures to raise funds to improve bus service, strengthen community connections, and reduce traffic.
    • In Charleston, South Carolina, local residents will be voting on a local sales tax referendum to raise $2.1 billion, mostly for transportation, including new bus rapid transit (BRT) service.
    • Virginia Beach residents will vote on a measure to simply voice their support for bringing the Tide light rail to the city center.

    Federal funding often isn’t enough to fund local public transit projects on its own — in fact, the federal government usually won’t fund a project without some level of matching funds from the community or state.

    Even getting such public transportation funding measures on the ballot is quite a challenge — which makes it all the more important to vote for them on November 8. 2016 ballot initiatives are important opportunities for voters: it’s rare that an issue that makes the ballot and fails is later resurrected and passed. Voters have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to build out essential public transportation infrastructure in their local areas.

    As supporters of public transit, it’s up to us get out and vote this November! Use our Voices for Public Transit election toolkit to get started today.

  • Local Transportation Ballot Measures in the Golden State

    Local investments authorized by voters are an important complement to federal dollars provided in the FAST Act, and in some cases, can even help win federal matching support for local public transportation projects.

    California Leads the Way

    Californians will vote on more transportation measures than residents of any other state. It’s notable that these measures aim to improve public transportation in a wide range of communities — from large cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles, to suburban areas, small towns, and rural areas. Here are some of the measures being put before California voters:

    • Los Angeles County Traffic Improvement Plan ProposalMeasure M would raise area sales tax by a half-cent to fund new rail lines, improve bus and rail service, and support multi-modal transportation.
    • Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Bond Measure RR — The current BART system is stretched beyond capacity and badly needs upgrades. Measure RR would raise $3.5 billion for BART via a modest property tax increase.
    • County Transportation Sales Tax Proposals — Voters in several counties across California will consider sales tax increases — by a half-cent in most cases — to fund improvements in transportation, including public transit. Measures will be appearing on ballots in Contra Costa, Sacramento, San Diego, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, and Ventura Counties.

    Transportation supporters should also be aware that some ballot proposals may seek to limit public transportation or reduce funding. In California, two state legislators filed a ballot initiative to take funding away from the state’s high-speed rail project. The measure did not qualify for the ballot, but it could return in 2018.

    However, Prop 53, a measure that would limit the ability of the state to issue bonds for transportation and infrastructure projects, did make it onto the statewide ballot this year. Public transit supporters should vote NO on Prop 53.

    It’s important to keep in mind that public transit funding is often included in measures to raise dollars for many transportation projects, including road improvements. As a public transit advocate, you may want to see more funding allocated specifically for buses and rail, but keep in mind that ballot proposals are often compromises, aimed at improving transportation for both drivers and public transit riders. In addition, of course, buses usually share roads with cars.

    November’s elections are just weeks away, voters throughout the country will have the opportunity to vote on ballot measures to improve public transportation. Regardless of where you live, we encourage you to stay informed about — and support! — local proposals for advancing public transportation.

    One important thing you can do if there’s a transportation measure on your local ballot — besides voting yourself — is to help raise awareness and encourage others to vote as well. Check out the Voices for Public Transit Election Toolkit for resources to help you get out the vote for public transit in your area!

  • Public Transit Helps Save Lives by Reducing Crashes

    Riding public transportation is one way to make sure your commute is safer according to a new study from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). In fact, you’re 90 percent less likely to be in an accident riding public transportation than commuting by private car, according to the groundbreaking new report, “The Hidden Traffic Safety Solution: Public Transportation.

    But the safety benefits of public transportation aren’t just reserved for riders. Researchers also found that in public transit-oriented communities, even those who don’t use public transportation are safer when traveling. In these communities, transit riders and non-riders together see their crash risk cut in half.

    Study Gives Impetus for Expanding Public Transportation

    This new study has major implications when it comes to transportation planning. Too often, the safety benefits of public transportation are overlooked. This study shows that investing in public transportation is one of the best ways to improve overall transportation safety within a community.

    “It is time we employ public transit as a traffic safety tool because it can dramatically reduce the crash risk for individuals as well as a community,” said Richard White, acting CEO and President of APTA, in response to the report. “While no mode of travel is risk free, the safety of public transit is striking when observing the number of fatalities that are a result of auto crashes.”

    Improving Safety for High-Risk and Vulnerable Drivers

    The report also highlights how public transportation especially enables safer mobility for high-risk and vulnerable drivers, such as teens and older Americans. When public transportation is available, more at-risk drivers shift to public transit, making roads safer for everyone.

    In cities that provide good public transportation access, teens drive half as much and take five times more public transit trips than their counterparts in non-urban areas. The results are half the per capita auto death rate.

    Expanding and improving public transit is the surest way to make communities nationwide safer places to live, work, and play. On November 8, if you have the opportunity in your area, please vote in support of local ballot measures that will benefit public transportation. Check here for a comprehensive list of public transit- and transportation-related ballot measures (be sure to filter your results by Election Date: Nov 2016).

    Check out our Voices for Public Transit voter toolkit for some quick, easy ways you can get involved and help support pro-public transportation ballot measures. Together, let’s keep America moving forward!

  • Innovations in Public Transit: Albuquerque Public Transit Project to Reinvent Community

    Albuquerque, New Mexico, is re-thinking the role and nature of public transit as one way to fundamentally re-imagine how the concept of community works in their city.

    Public transit-oriented development is not merely about serving riders; it’s also about transforming landscapes to help bring people together.

    “Creating Place”

    The Albuquerque Rapid Transit (ART), which officially began construction in late summer, is a perfect example of “creating place” by maximizing access to public transit.

    New Mexico’s largest city is one of the most diverse places in the country, featuring a vibrant combination of Latino, Anglo, and Native cultures and an even broader socioeconomic spectrum. This mixed-use project aims to help bring residents from different backgrounds closer together by honoring tradition while also pointing an eye toward the future.

    Dedicated lanes for buses will weave through several distinct neighborhoods, closely following Albuquerque’s historic Route 66 from one side of the city to the other. The system is intended to help “drive economic growth and mobility; connect people with ever-changing opportunities; [and] create public ‘places of the soul’ that connect and uplift” local communities.

    Moving from Albuquerque’s Old Town to its boutique Nob Hill community for example, a trip that might take 20 minutes or more to drive in a car, could take half as long on ART. Every aspect is designed to make service as fast as possible:

    • Frequent service helps reduce waiting times, and riders will be able to pay their fare ahead of time at the new stations.
    • Bus stops will be raised similar to a train station platform, assisting with mobility and allowing passengers to more easily board the bus, which will also have doors on both sides.
    • Riders will breeze by traffic thanks to dedicated bus lanes. Buses will rarely need to stop at intersections because the traffic lights will turn green when they approach.
    • Once passengers disembark, they can easily board one of the city’s existing bus routes or its commuter train.

    An Uplifting Experience

    Riding public transit should be enjoyable and enriching, and ART is reflecting that:

    • The stations are designed to blend in with and beautify the urban surroundings, complementing the adobe structures and neon lights that appear frequently along the route.
    • Planners hope to eventually adorn the stations with work from local artists that reflects the local neighborhoods.
    • New buses will be battery-electric, protecting New Mexico’s breathtaking natural environment.

    Advocates of public transportation are hoping ART will be another excellent example of the benefits of investing in public transit, from driving innovation that spurs economic growth to improving the quality of life for entire communities.

    Join in the conversation. Share with our community what innovations and new ideas are being deployed in your area—or what changes you would like to see.

  • Advocate spotlight

    Thomas H.

    I have relied on public transit almost all of my life. Presently, I am retired, which I have been for five years now, and I do not own a car after giving my last car away to be junked, as it was in total disrepair.

    Read More

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