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Public Transit Grows
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As the traffic jams on America’s highways get worse, more and more people are turning to mass transit. This includes light rail, such as subway, elevated or monorail; and commuter trains and even dedicated busways. Over the last ten years the number of Americans riding the public transit systems has increased by 25 percent.

While new gas taxes and the building of more roads are being turned down in various referendums, citizens are voting for the construction of new and expanded transit systems. Kansas City recently adopted a tax increase to build a 27-mile light rail and in the last year similar systems have opened in Nashville and Albuquerque.

Denver doubled its light rail system in December (2006) and St. Louis opened a $678 million expansion in June of the same year. New regional rail lines have opened or soon will in Dallas, Phoenix, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City and Charlotte.

Light Rail Transit Systems Expands

All told, the number of metro areas with light rail transit systems has expanded from 25 to 42, including those that are planned to open in the future. This brings an option other than driving a car or taking slow surface buses to millions of commuters for the first time.

When all of these systems are complete, more than 4,000 communities will have quick access to a light rail station. Polls show that Americans are very much in favor of this expansion and wish more people would use these public transit systems. Commuting by car is more and more out of favor, as well as expensive, time-consuming and hard on the nerves.

If you are a suburbanite who has never used the subway or similar transit system, why not give it a try at least once? It may prove to be an experience you would prefer. It would certainly decrease the cost to your neighbors and the wear and tear on the environment if you switched over even part-time.

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Center for Metropolitan Ministries. Copyright © 2006 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

Source: Information from The Seattle Times, December 4, 2006.

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