The St. Louis-based Transportation Equity Network (TEN), an alliance of local and state groups across the U.S., held a “Save Transit!” day of action as Transportation for America (T4America) launched a new and expanded online database capturing the thousands of service cuts and fare hikes across the country.
From April 20-28, hundreds of members of the TEN and their allies in eleven cities will hold a series of memorial services, rallies, and other actions to resurrect mass transit in their communities.
- In Atlanta, red Xs were placed on Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) buses and trains to illustrate how drastically service will be reduced without swift action.
- In the D.C. metro area, the Partnership for Renewal in Southern and Central Maryland (PRISCM) and local Amalgamated Transit Union members held a pray-in with personal testimonies and songs about the need for transit.
- In Los Angeles, the Bus Riders Union, Move L.A., the California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG), and the Natural Resources Defense Council rallied for federal transit operations funding.
- In Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn., members of ISAIAH, a non-profit coalition of 90 congregations, conducted a phone-a-thon asking their congressional representatives to support emergency transit funding.
The Week of Action will continue on April 27 to 28 with rallies by Transportation Equity Network member groups in San Francisco, St. Louis, and Kansas City, Mo. The groups will announce their participation in a nationwide effort to restore service and avoid future cuts and fare hikes by supporting federal legislation that would provide hundreds of millions of dollars for transit operations around the U.S. (S. 3189).
“At a time when our national economy is on the brink of recovery, and Americans across the country are demanding increased access to transportation options, transit systems should not have to cut service and raise fares, but should have the support of Congress,” said James Corless, campaign director for T4 America. “This is a national crisis that needs a national response, now.”
“America’s transit systems are in crisis just when we need them the most – for access to jobs, education, health care and opportunity,” said Laura Barrett, executive director of the Transportation Equity Network. “Service cuts and fare hikes are hitting low-income people, people of color, students, retirees and the disabled especially hard, and they're robbing all of us of a proven engine of economic growth. TEN is calling on Congress to keep America moving by letting our transit agencies use federal funds for operating expenses.”
This story originally appeared in Metro Magazine on April 20, 2010 and is available here: http://www.metro-magazine.com/News/Story/2010/04/Transit-advocates-rally-in-11-cities.aspx