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Letter to Editor: Marking the 56th Birthday of Bronx Public Transport

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Dear Editor,
July, 2020 marks the 56th Anniversary of federal government support for public transportation.  The success of public transportation can be traced back to one of the late President Lyndon Johnson's greatest accomplishments which continues benefiting many Americans today.  On July 9th, 1964 he signed the "Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964" into law.  Subsequently this has resulted in the investment over time of several hundred billion dollars into public transportation. 
Millions of Americans including many residing in the Bronx today on a daily basis 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 President Johnson.
Depending upon where you live, consider the public transportation alternative. Try riding a local or express bus, commuter van, ferry, light rail, commuter rail or subway. 
Fast forward to today.  Fortunately we have the Metropolitan Transportation Authority  and its various operating agencies, including NYC Transit subway, bus and Staten Island Railway, Metro North Rail Road, Long Island Rail Road, MTA Bus and Westchester Bee Line Bus.
Using MTA Metro Cards provides free transfers between the subway and bus.  This has eliminated the old two fare zones making public transportation an even better bargain.  Purchasing a monthly Metro North Rail Road or MTA subway/bus pass reduces the cost per ride and provides virtually unlimited trips.
In many cases, employers can offer transit checks which help subsidizes a portion of the costs.  Utilize this and reap the benefits.  It supports a cleaner environment.  

Many employers now allow employees to telecommute and work from home.  Others use alternative work schedules which afford staff the ability to avoid rush hour gridlock.  This saves travel time and can improve mileage per gallon.  Join a car or van pool to share the costs of commuting.  

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% 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
Larry Penner is a transportation advocate, historian and writer who previously worked for the Federal Transit Administration Region 2 New York Office. This included the development, review, approval and oversight for billions in capital projects and programs for the MTA, NYC Transit, Metro North Rail Road, MTA Bus, Westchester Bee Line Bus along with 30 other transit agencies in NY & NJ.

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