Monday, August 24, 2009

Free Public Transit in Tennessee

Why should local and state governments subsidize public transportation -- or even pay the full cost so that people can ride for free?

Simply to ease the pressure to build more roads and streets, which cost a lot more than a few more buses and become congested almost as soon as the new asphalt is laid.

Buses, trains, trolleys and the like also foul the air less than personal automobiles on a per-passenger-mile basis. They burn less fossil fuel. The community's ability to attract new industry and create jobs is directly related to air quality and the community's standing with the Environmental Protection Agency.

Plus, the American Public Transportation Association says the average American commuter paying the full fare saves more than $9,500 per year by choosing public transportation over driving.

If the average West Memphis commuter saves anything close to that, it's no wonder rides on West Memphis routes average more than 20,000 a month.