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Security means strong transit services

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The Environment America Research and Policy Center released a report this month detailing the relationship between transportation and America's oil dependence. "Getting On Track: Record Transit Ridership Increases Energy Independence" was written by Rob McCulloch, Philip Faustmann and Jessica Darmawan of the Environment America Research and Policy Center and funded by the Rockefeller Foundation and the Surdna Foundation.

"Strengthening our nation’s public transportation infrastructure is vital to ensure we keep people mobile while reducing our dependence on oil and cutting global warming pollution," the report explains. "Given expected population and economic growth, dwindling availability of land, increasingly overburdened highways and bridges, and depletion of finite oil supplies, we need to take action now to move to a more efficient transportation system."

The obvious choice, the authors conclude, is to build a transportation system that uses less oil, takes advantage of alternative fuels, and shifts as much of our travel as possible from transportation modes that consume a lot of energy to those that consume less. To that end, the report offers four objectives:

  • Issue overarching goals to reduce oil dependence and pollution through transportation.
  • Increase investment in cleaner public transportion to include transit, high-speed rail and better walking and biking.
  • Level the playing field in terms of funding and approving transit projects relative to road projects.
  • Increase funding for transit maintenance and day-to-day operations, in addition to improving and expanding capacity.

The report is available in the Best Practices section:

Getting On Track: Record Transit Ridership Increases Energy Independence