• Published

More people should use public transportation

The success of public transportation can be traced back to one of President Lyndon Johnson’s greatest accomplishments, which continues benefiting many Americans today. On July 9, 1964, he signed the Urban Mass Transportation Act into law. This has resulted in the investment over time of several hundred billion dollars into public transportation. Since 1973, the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority has benefited by over $1.5 billion in grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Transit Administration (where I worked for 31 years in the Region 2 New York Office).

A majority of the NFTA bus and light rail capital program, including buses, light rail cars, paratransit vehicles, bus garages, light rail yard, compressed natural gas fueling stations, fare collection equipment, automatic vehicle locator equipment, real-time communications systems to notify riders of the anticipated arrival of the next bus, shelters, bus stop signs and other support equipment necessary to run the system were all paid for primarily with federal funding.

Millions of Americans today 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 Johnson.

Depending upon where you live, consider the public transportation alternative. Try riding an NFTA bus or light rail vehicle. 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 percent 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

Great Neck

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