It’s been clear for several years that more people than ever support public transit. In vote after vote, people consistently say yes to taxes for transit creation.
In 2012, 79 percent of transit ballot initiatives were approved. That's good news for everyone. For every $1 billion investment in transit, 60,000 jobs are created, making transit one of the best job generators in our economy.
A recent study by Good Jobs First, covered this week in Politico, showed that key support for transit is coming from employers in metro areas. Called “Bosses for Buses,” the study says that support from the heads of universities and hospitals explains why state and local ballot initiatives for transit consistently win.
“The remarkable local support for transit demonstrated by so many employers is truly heartening,” Greg LeRoy, executive director of Good Jobs First and lead author of the study, told Politico. “But the lack of a unified corporate voice on federal transit issues is equally disheartening.”
The study profiles outstanding networks and companies that have supported ballot initiatives, like Washington University in St. Louis, Mo. Cleveland's two largest employers, The Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals of Cleveland, were involved in a campaign for the HealthLine, one of the nation's most successful Bus Rapid Transit lines. In Phoenix, a spinoff of the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce developed a “Transit Means Business” campaign. And in the D.C. area, a coalition named “Purple Line Now!” is working with community groups like the Coalition for Smarter Growth and PRISCM to gain a sorely needed arc-shaped light rail line that would connect inner-ring suburbs and four subway “spokes” in the Maryland counties that straddle D.C.
The whole country is standing up for transit. What’s up with Congress? Hopefully, the newly organized bi-partisan Public Transit Caucus that Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D-Ill.) and Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) have created will make a difference with their fellow legislators.
For those folks who are walking home tonight from their food service jobs because there is no bus after midnight, here’s hoping the 1 percent in Congress step up for transit.