interview with Art Guzzetti
Mass transit is on the rebound, according to new figures from the American Public Transportation Association. Art Guzzetti, APTA vice-president of Policy and Research told “First Take with Lando and Chavis” that Americans’ 10.8 billion trips on public transportation in 2014 was the highest annual ridership number in 58 years.
“You have to go back before the big road-building era – 1956 – to see that number,” said Guzzetti. ”And this is in the context of gas prices that were significantly lower than a year ago in the fourth quarter.”
Denver’s ridership has never been higher, up over three percent for the year, Guzzetti added. Light rail ridership was up 12 percent, due to the addition of the “W” line serving the western suburbs. “Many people around the country are looking at the model that Denver’s done with FasTracks, including opening Union Station, and next year the Eagle P3 project (the rail line connecting Denver International Airport and downtown). It’s one of the best stories in the country.”
RTD’s general manager Phil Washington (also chair of the APTA) and other public transit officials are lobbying Congress this week because the federal surface transportation bill expires on May 31, 2015. And it’s not a zero-sum game (mass transit money vs. highway money). “We have an event with the state highway departments to announce the baseline of investment requirements as Congress considers the new legislation.”
“We’re standing shoulder to shoulder together. We both realize – the state DOTs and the urban regional transit systems – that you work together as a system. You view it, you plan it, you finance it and you manage it as a system.”
A PDF version of the full report can be read at the website www.apta.com.
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