July 2013 marks the 49th anniversary of federal support for public transportation.
The success of public transportation can be traced back to one of the late President Lyndon Johnson’s greatest accomplishments, which continues benefiting many Americans today. On July 10, 1964 he signed the Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964 into law. This has resulted in the investment over time of several hundred billion dollars into public transportation.
Millions of Americans, including many residing in Queens County today, on a daily basis utilize various public transportation alternatives. They include bus, ferry, jitney, light rail, subway and commuter rail services. All use less fuel and move far more people than conventional single-occupancy vehicles. Most are funded with your tax dollars thanks to President Johnson.
Depending upon where you live, consider the public transportation alternative. Try riding a local or express bus, commuter van, ferry, light rail, commuter rail or subway.
Fortunately we have the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and its various operating agencies, including New York City Transit subway and bus, Long Island Rail Road, Metro North Rail Road, Staten Island Rapid Transit Authority and MTA Bus. There are also New Jersey Transit and Port Authority-Trans Hudson trains and the Staten Island Ferry.
MTA MetroCards provide free transfers between the subway and bus. This has eliminated the old two-fare zones, making public transportation an even better bargain. Purchasing a monthly LIRR or MTA pass reduces the cost per ride and provides virtually unlimited trips.
Elected officials and government employees can turn in their taxpayer-funded vehicles and join the rest of us by using public transportation to get around. In many cases, employers can offer transit checks which help subsidize a portion of the costs. Utilize this and reap the benefits. It supports a cleaner environment. Or join a car or van pool to share the costs of commuting.
The ability to travel from home to workplace, school, shopping, entertainment, medical office, library, etc., is a factor when moving to a new neighborhood. Economically successful communities are not 100 percent dependent on automobiles as the sole means of mobility. Seniors, students and low- and middle-income people need these transportation alternatives. Investment in public transportation contributes to economic growth, employment and a stronger economy. Dollar for dollar, it is one of the best investments we can make.