Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Obviously, the wrong thing to do

Downturn forces transit cuts as ridership grows

If there is a reason the stimulus package needs to include money for transit, is this one. It is pretty astonishing (and completely irrational) that in a context where Americans are driving less and using transit more, state and local governments are forced to cut service in order to balance their budgets. Transit makes sense, both in the short term -people are using it now- and the long term, to create a more sustainable, smart growth friendly future.

Obviously, we must go beyond keeping what we have. Places like Meriden will benefit immensely to be a 30 minute rate of both Hartford and New Haven with departures every 30 minutes, for instance. The station is right in the middle of downtown in all three places, so commuting from Meriden will be highly attractive, sending property values and economic activity to a very depressed area almost inmediately.

The infrastructure is there, the money could be there, the technology is there. It is the perfect low-cost, high-return investment.

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