Rising Demand for Transit Could Be a “Turning Point”
CNN broadcast yesterday a relatively in-depth piece on U.S. cities scrambling to meet rising demand for mass transit.
With a fight over billions of dollars of federal transportation funding set to heat up immediately after the swearing-in of the next president, this may very well be the most important transportation policy story of the next 18 months. The battle lines are already being drawn up:
In this corner: smart growth, green collar jobs and mass transit.
In that corner: Auto makers, asphalt pourers and the drill, drill, drillers
Some observers such as Dr. Robert Lang, an expert on urban affairs and planning at Virginia Tech University, say the gas crunch could be a turning point in perceptions of public transportation and how cities plan development.
Consumers are beginning to believe the high prices are a result of structural changes in the global economy, not the result of a single event like Hurricane Katrina, which produced a period of high fuel prices earlier this decade, Lang said.
That change in perception is providing more momentum for some cities that were already moving away from six-lane highways and suburbs dozens of miles apart, to a series of urban centers connected by light rail and other mass transit systems.