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Gabrielle Gurley: For Transit, "The Cuts are Coming": Most American transit systems were fragile before the pandemic—struggling for revenue, dependent for survival on federal money, inadequate fares, debt, and, in some cases, donations from local businesses. The pandemic has exacerbated these problems and t...

Gabrielle Gurley: For Transit, "The Cuts are Coming": Most American transit systems were fragile before the pandemic—struggling for revenue, dependent for survival on federal money, inadequate fares, debt, and, in some cases, donations from local businesses. The pandemic has exacerbated these problems and t...

FromThe Strong Towns Podcast


Gabrielle Gurley: For Transit, "The Cuts are Coming": Most American transit systems were fragile before the pandemic—struggling for revenue, dependent for survival on federal money, inadequate fares, debt, and, in some cases, donations from local businesses. The pandemic has exacerbated these problems and t...

FromThe Strong Towns Podcast

ratings:
Length:
55 minutes
Released:
Jan 18, 2021
Format:
Podcast Episode

Description

Most American transit systems were fragile before the pandemic—struggling for revenue, dependent for survival on federal money, inadequate fares, debt, and, in some cases, donations from local businesses. The pandemic has exacerbated these problems and turned existing transit models on their heads.
In late December, Gabrielle Gurley, a deputy editor at The American Prospect, wrote an article about how transit systems have responded to the pandemic. “Most operators have mastered the virus precautions, requiring masks, social distancing, and deep-cleaning and disinfecting,” she wrote. “Some have coped better than others, though, in rethinking how to serve passengers who are no longer living in 9-to-5 worlds, and accepting the new realities about how to retain and secure funding at a time when Republican elected officials have blocked any federal response since last spring.” A survey last fall found the majority of transit agencies plan to cut service to close funding gaps.
Gurley is our guest on this week’s episode of the Strong Towns podcast. She talks with host Chuck Marohn, founder and president of Strong Towns, about the convulsive effects 2020 had on American transit systems, how the transit experience has changed, and why the politics of transit funding is so challenging. They also discuss the cuts many agencies have planned (or have already implemented), how transit funding reflects what we value as a society, and how the pandemic will change spending priorities from expansion to taking care of basics. As Gurley says, “As nice as it would be to have a spiffy, high-speed train going from DC to New York in two hours…maybe we fix the [leaky] tunnel first.”
Additional Show Notes

“Public Transportation in Crisis, by Gabrielle Gurley” 


Other articles by Gabrielle Gurley at The American Prospect


Gabrielle Gurley (Twitter)


Matthew Yglesias (Twitter)


Charles Marohn (Twitter)


The Strong Towns Local-Motive Tour


Select Strong Towns content on transit:

“New York transit is facing "Doomsday" cuts. Should non-New Yorkers bail it out?” by Charles Marohn


“For U.S. Transit, "Death Spiral" Shouldn't Have Been an Option in the First Place” (Podcast)


“In Transportation Costs, ‘It's the System, Stupid.’" by Daniel Herriges


“Can a High-Speed Rail Network Electrify the U.S. Economy?” (Podcast)


“The Only Thing More Expensive Than Saving Transit is Not Saving Transit,” by Daniel Herriges
Released:
Jan 18, 2021
Format:
Podcast Episode