Friday, February 17, 2012

Hardy transit, hardy economy | |

Hardy transit, hardy economy | | "Maintain, grow public transit"

The need: Transport urban dwellers and elderly, disabled and poor to jobs, groceries, health centers and services.

The details: Public transit plays a critical role in the region’s economy: Metro provides 17 million rides every year, about half getting people to and from work. The Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky (TANK) serves 5 million passengers every year, about 75 percent to and from work. Local transit authorities say the greatest challenge is to maintain funding for services and programs and find ways to fund new ones, such as a planned $9 million bus rapid transit corridor in Uptown.

The experts: “Transportation is really important in terms of economic development, job creation and linking people to job opportunities,” says Terry Garcia Crews, CEO and general manager of Metro. “Here’s an opportunity to seize that moment .”

The cost: Maintain existing federal and local funding for public transit operations, infrastructure and the replacement of buses. Secure funding for new service and initiatives.

The prospects: Uncertain. Transit officials say the transportation plan put forth by U.S. House Republicans would jeopardize federal funding for public transit. And local funding is often tied to local governments, increasingly cash-strapped themselves.

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