55 Years of Gov’t Support for Public Transportation
July, 2019 marks the 55th Anniversary of federal government support for public transportation.
The success of public transportation can be traced back to one of the late President Lyndon Johnson’s greatest accomplishments which continues benefiting many Americans today. On July 9th, 1964 he signed the “Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964” into law. Subsequently this has resulted in the investment over time of several hundred billion dollars into public transportation.
Millions of Americans today on a daily basis utilize various public transportation alternatives. They include local and express bus, ferry, jitney, light rail, subway and commuter rail services. All of these systems use less fuel and move far more people than conventional single occupancy vehicles. Most of these systems are funded with your tax dollars thanks to President Johnson.
Depending upon where you live, consider the public transportation alternative. Try riding a local or express bus, commuter van, ferry, light rail, commuter rail or subway.
Fortunately we have the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and its various operating agencies, including NYC Transit subway and bus, Long Island Rail Road, Metro North Rail Road, Staten Island Rapid Transit Authority and MTA Bus.
There is also New Jersey Transit, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PATH), NYC Departments of Transportation Staten Island Ferry and Economic Development Corporation private ferries.
Using MTA Metro Cards provides free transfers between the subway and bus. This has eliminated the old two fare zones making public transportation an even better bargain. Purchasing a monthly LIRR or MTA subway/bus pass reduces the cost per ride and provides virtually unlimited trips.
Elected officials and government employees can turn in their taxpayers funded vehicles and join the rest of us by using public transportation to get around town. In many cases, employers can offer transit checks which help subsidizes a portion of the costs. Utilize this and reap the benefits. It supports a cleaner environment.
Many employers now allow employees to telecommute and work from home. Others use alternative work schedules which afford staff the ability to avoid rush hour gridlock. This saves travel time and can improve mileage per gallon. Join a car or van pool to share the costs of commuting.
The ability to travel from home to workplace, school, shopping, entertainment, medical, library etc. is a factor when moving to a new neighborhood. Economically successful communities are not 100% dependent on automobiles as the sole means of mobility. Seniors, students, low and middle income people need these transportation alternatives. Investment in public transportation today contributes to economic growth, employment and a stronger economy. Dollar for dollar, it is one of the best investments we can make.
(Larry Penner is a transportation historian, writer and advocate who previously worked 31 years for the Federal Transit Administration Region 2 New York Office. This included the development, review, approval and oversight for billions in capital projects and programs for the MTA, NYC Transit, Long Island Rail Road, Metro North Rail Road MTA Bus, NYC Department of Transportation, Nassau County NICE Bus along with 30 other transit agencies in NY & NJ).
Remembering Fallen Jewish PO Leon Fox
On Monday, July 15th, at 5pm, I will be hosting a street co-naming ceremony in honor of fallen Jewish Police Officer Leon Fox. In 1941, Officer Fox was a patrolman assigned to the NYPD’s 60th Precinct. While escorting a theater manager to deposit his earnings of the day, Officer Fox was shot and killed in the line of duty.
More than 78 years later, another Jewish police officer who was at the time assigned to the 60th Precinct–Albert Mammon–told me Officer Fox’s story and urged me to preserve his memory and his sacrifice for the Southern Brooklyn community.
As a community that stands with the NYPD, and particularly at a time when there is a trend of NYPD suicides, it is important that we stand in support of our Finest. I encourage you to join me, along with Police Commissioner O’Neill and the 85-year-old son of Officer Fox, at a ceremony honoring his service to New Yorkers.
The event will take place on Monday, July 15th at 5pm at the intersection of Surf Avenue and West 12th Street, the location where Officer Fox was gunned down in February of 1941.
Councilman Chaim Deutsch
Avoiding Summer Tragedies
Just a word of caution before we begin our summer vacations. Tragically, every year at this time, we begin to witness the kind of tragedies that are beyond heartbreaking. Young people in the Catskills; at camps or bungalow colonies becoming seriously injured or even killed in accidents that could have been avoided. Each year we hear of many fatal car accidents with entire families being affected. Every year we hear of fires, drownings, kidnappings and other horrible events taking place. We all want to have a joyful, fun and very relaxing vacation, but we must also be quite vigilant about our surroundings. And let us raise our voices to Hashem and we beseeched Him for protection at this time and always!!
Dovid Yeshoshua Lefkowitz