This week the Washington Post reported that mass transit ridership is rocketing upward — "the largest quarterly increase in public transportation ridership in 25 years" — even in the face of falling gas prices.
This correction that now sits atop the story is amusing:
This article about an increase in mass-transit ridership incorrectly said transit officials estimate that 40,000 jobs would be created by 736 transit projects nationwide if federal money were made available. The correct number is 340,000 jobs.
Yes, Virginia, public investment does create jobs.
Despite growing demand, the budget crunch has many transit agencies cutting service. The piece notes, "The trends are likely to boost support for more transit funds in the economic stimulus package that Congress will send to President-elect Barack Obama."
On queue, yesterday the WaPo editorial board weighs in with "Invest in Mass Transit." They call for close oversight, a balancing of projects put on hold due to short funds — some of which might not be ideal in terms of serving social goals — with perfect pony projects that haven’t gotten underway yet.
Lawmakers should give priority to projects that are environmentally friendly and that encourage smart growth. They also should adjust the federal government’s disbursement formula to direct more money to mass transit and to other projects in underserved metropolitan areas.
Word to that. If the conservative WaPo board is on the SUPERTRAIN, it really must be an idea whose time has come.