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Even as Gas Prices Fall, More People Are Turning to Transit

9:44 AM PST on January 27, 2009

From Streetsblog Network member Mobilizing the Region, the blog of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, come some numbers that members of Congress should look at closely as they consider transit funding in the stimulus package:

Itseems that even as gasoline prices are starting to come down, theeconomic recession is suppressing driving.  Vehicle miles traveledtypically fall with the GDP, but what differs this time around is thattransit ridership is not suffering -- and, in fact, is even growing inmost places.  An American Public Transportation Association officialtold MTR that as Americansshifted to transit to save on gas, they “discovered” the benefits andconvenience of transit.  Significant unemployment could dampen thegrowth in transit ridership in coming months, but for now Americans arestill piling onto buses and trains.

driving_us_11.jpgDriving fell throughout the U.S. in November 2008.

Good facts to know when you make your calls to Congress in support of Rep. Jerry Nadler's amendment to the stimulus.

Also today around the network: Ryan Avent on The Bellows
writes about how falling prices for raw materials and the slump in home
and commercial construction make this an ideal time to invest in
infrastructure:

[T]he bottomline is this: when the economy recovers, resources will again approachfull utilization. And when that happens, governments will have to paymore to build needed projects, and government investment will crowd outsome private investment. Fiscal stimulus skeptics focus their ire onthe potential for government waste in spending, and that potential isthere. A full accounting would also consider the opportunity cost offailing to invest now while costs are low and there’s plenty of slackin the system. There’s a very good case that the best way to savetaxpayer money over the long-term is to build as much infrastructure aspossible right now.

Plus: Bike PGH reports on the mayor of Pittsburgh's call for more bike racks, and Making Places reports on the first meeting of the DIYcity group, which is aimed at making cities more user-friendly through Web 2.0 technology.

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