9.27.2007

Moving People or Making Places

Interesting piece on Governing's website today re: what public transit
is for, in terms of the use of federal funds:
http://governing.typepad.com/13thfloor/2007/09/a-streetcar-nam.html#more.

So which is it: transit as a way of moving people or transit as a way
of making places? Of course the answer is a little of both.

Although when it comes to government money, I'd say the former can be
more subsidized while the latter should seek to stimulate private
investment. As for moving people, many parts of the country are out
of room to build roads for people to drive on - LA comes to mind - so
transit can be a way to catalyze mobility without piling on the
congestion or the pollution. And as for making places, cities and
regions of course have an incentive to stimulate the development of
unique and authentic and attractive places, but it's the private
sector that is best at actually providing the resources and ideas and
muscles.

Urban Christians ought to be more involved and informed on issues of
transportation funding. Because moving people isn't a private
decision, to the extent that it affects our taxpayer dollars and our
land use and our air quality. And making places matters, since it's a
way to revitalize formerly beaten down neighborhoods and reclaim their
soul and their usefulness. Who knew that the Federal Transit
Administration and SAFETEA-LU and New Starts were of Kingdom
consequence?

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