Transit supporters designated Tuesday as “Don’t X Out Public Transportation Day” to draw attention to the drastic cuts that would result from a proposal currently in the U.S. House of Representatives to slash highway and public transportation funding.
If enacted the cuts have the potential to devastate Caltrain rail service, SamTrans bus service and dam up critical infrastructure projects to modernize transit systems, enhance safety and create jobs. Commuters who rely on transit will be penalized most severely, but the cuts also will have negative impacts on traffic congestion and environmental quality.
More than two-thirds of the people who use SamTrans have no other means of transportation. Nearly half of all SamTrans riders are going to work. Approximately 75 percent of Caltrain riders use the service to commute to work or school.
“Safe and reliable transportation is at risk,” said Adrienne Tissier, chair of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and a member of the Caltrain and SamTrans boards. “Without federal investment in our nation’s public transit systems the millions of Americans who depend on it every day may be left with longer wait times, overcrowding and decreased services. Now is the time for our government to be investing in public transportation and our infrastructure, not cutting.”
Organizers of the day say cuts this drastic will mean significant job loss in both the public and private sectors. In addition. access to quality local public transportation will impact the millions of Americans who rely on it to get to and from work each day. It is estimated that 614,000 public transportation jobs could be lost over the next six years if a funding cut this extreme takes place.
To combat the impact of these cuts, transit supporters formed a diverse coalition of public transit interests to participate in “Don’t X Out Public Transit Day.” Participants include: Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), Los Angeles Bus Riders Union, National Association of Public Transportation Advocates (NAPTA), Reconnecting America, the Transportation Equity Network, Transportation for America (T4), Transportation Riders for Public Transportation, Transport Workers Union (TWU), Urban Habitat and everyday public transit riders. This national rally day and call to action highlights the severe effects cut of more than one third to federal transit funding would have.