Monday, March 9, 2020

Peter Harrison's plan for US nationwide #freepublictransit

The fed gov spends $40B/yr on roads and $2.3B on transit which is crazy.

This locks millions of Americans into long, traffic-filled commutes while paying a fortune for a car, gas, and insurance. That’s wasted money and time Americans should be spending elsewhere.
What’s worse, 30% of our carbon footprint comes from cars and trucks. There’s no credible way to avoid climate disaster that doesn’t involve getting people out of cars and into mass transit. We need to take back our streets and make them about moving people, not cars.
But tbc good transit policy does not include punishing car owners who have done nothing wrong. This system was literally a conspiracy against transit + cities. Getting people out of cars is about creating viable alternative ways to get around a city + region conveniently. 
That means above all else making public transit 100% fare-free + accessible. The elderly, the disabled, families with strollers, and the poor need to be able to use these systems with ease.
The fed gov can help with money. Lots of it. My #free2move plan calls for a 90/10 Fed/local gov spending match. This is the same percentage that the feds set for interstate highway construction that gutted American cities and created anti-environmental suburban sprawl.
The plan calls for $1.7 trillion over 10 years to help operating and capital expansion for urban transit systems. That can mean high speed rail or just improving sidewalk and bike lane safety. Not every city needs a subway system. But every city needs safer streets. 
But fed money isn’t enough. And just empowering local governments with transit decisions will mean more roads and more homeowners blocking transit (see CA). #free2move is about regional planning + democratic control. 
That feels like a contradiction in US, but we’ve always operated at a regional level. The Constitution is extremely clunky and dated on this but metropolitan regions need to cooperate as a single commuter shed (like a river system) to make a transit system truly work.
State DOTs will just maintain roads (or get funding raided) + most cities don’t control their transit systems (like NYC w MTA). This means no elected official is ever held accountable for traffic or poor transit. #free2move requires direct voter accountability for funding 10/12
This plan doesn’t require gas tax increase or congestion pricing which are both politically toxic and regressive. Not to say those things shouldn’t be on table to discuss contextually but they aren’t part of #free2move. We have plenty of money at national level to do this. 
We can afford to build + maintain comprehensive fare-free public transit in US #free2move

Truly, we can’t afford not to invest in public transit. Our infrastructure is collapsing, our democracy is failing and our planet is dying

We need our cities to work for all of us.