Communities See Economic Impacts of Public Transportation Infrastructure Investment

ARTICLE | May 28, 2014

In mid-May, the National League of Cities co-hosted a briefing “The Economic Impact of Public Transportation Investment: Stories from Around the Country” with the Environmental and Energy Study Institute, the American Public Transportation Association, and the U.S. Travel Association. Several of their examples were from municipalities with council-manager forms of government including San Carlos, California, and Eugene, Oregon. These cities exemplify how public transit systems are working hard to expand capacity to provide viable low-cost transportation choices for Americans while improving mobility, air quality, and public health.

Within the next several months, several specific Congressional actions are essential for the well-being of public transportation. The current federal surface transportation authorization expires September 30, 2014. The Highway Trust Fund, which provides the federal share for both highways and public transportation, will begin running short of liquidity in August.

Caltrain – San Carlos, California

Caltrain’s San Bruno Grade Separation Project elevated the Caltrain tracks above three existing at-grade street crossings at San Bruno, San Mateo and Angus avenues. This reduces the costs of traffic congestion that affects both household and business budgets. These elevated tracks created an infrastructure investment with immediate impacts. Traffic flows quicker and losses from time spent in traffic are significantly reduced while improving public transit operations. As a result of this project, safety was improved for both motorists and pedestrians.

Lane Transit District – Eugene, Oregon

Lane Transit District’s EmX Bus Rapid Transit system was opened in early 2007, connecting downtown Springfield to downtown Eugene, Oregon. This is a bus rapid transit system with dedicated bus lanes for 60 percent of the route. The weekday service is beneficial to a range of businesses because it runs from approximately 6:00 am to 11:00 pm, with buses arriving every 10 minutes throughout the day.

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