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July 2018 marks the 54th anniversary of federal government support for public transportation.

The success of public transportation can be traced back to one of President Lyndon Johnson’s greatest accomplishments, which continues benefiting many Americans today. On July 9, 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 living in Queens County today, utilize various public transportation alternatives on a daily basis. 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 Johnson. Depending upon where you live, consider the public transportation options.

Fortunately, we have the MTA and its various operating agencies, including NYC Transit subway and bus, LIRR, Metro North Rail Road, Staten Island Rapid Transit Authority and MTA Bus. There is also New Jersey Transit, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, New York City Departments of Transportation, Staten Island Ferry and Economic Development Corporation private ferries.

Using MTA Metrocards 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 Long Island Rail Road or MTA subway/bus pass reduces the cost per ride and provides virtually unlimited trips.

Elected officials and government employees can turn in their taxpayer-funded vehicles and join the rest of us by using public transportation to get around town. In many cases, employers can offer transit checks, which help subsidize a portion of the costs. Utilize this and reap the benefits. It supports a cleaner environment.

The ability to travel from home to workplace, school, shopping, entertainment, medical sites and libraries is a factor when moving to a new neighborhood. Economically successful communities are not 100 percent 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

Great Neck

Updated 12:32 am, July 10, 2018
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Reader feedback

The Venerable Stan from Flushing says:
I could not agree less with Larry Penner's assessment of local mass transit.

The cost per passenger mile of mass transit is way out of line. Mass transit is a disgrace. Have you ever noticed how almost every how every mass transit construction program goes ENORMOUSLY over budget and takes eons longer than originally planned & promised?

As particular examples, please consider the 2nd Ave subway in Manhattan and the Eastside connection of the LIRR. After spending not a fortune, but several fortunes, and close to half a century, on the 2nd Ave subway they hooked up a few stations, & seem to have forgotten about the rest of the line.

The slowwwwww progress & excessive cost, of the Eastside connection, would be comical if it wasn't so painful.

While it sounds good on paper, Mass Transit in NYC has been an expensive boondoggle.

Yes, it is used by tons & tons of people all of the time, but they don't have a choice.

Please find a copy of an old LIRR timetable from the 1930's or 1940's. You may be surprised to see that despite all types of improvements & new trains, travel times to Penn Station in Manhattan are about the same now as they were then. (At least for the Port Washington Branch, the one I use.)

If you take the Eastbound LIRR during evening rush hour, I'm sure you are familiar with the notably disgusting delays there have been during the past year or two. The LIRR blames it on AmTrak, but either way, it's mass transit.

AmTrak has a notably BAD record for not meeting the deadline for the installation of mandated safety devices.

The train tunnel under the Hudson River, connecting NYC with NJ, is VERY old & in SERIOUS disrepair. Additionally it is inadequate for the present traffic & certainly inadequate for any additional traffic; however, NJ has turned a blind eye to the problem & refuses to do anything about it.

And, while I'm on the subject, let me remind everyone that the MTA & LIRR are unable to support rail service from the fair box & demand contributions from other aspects of life (like mortgages payments, & bridge tolls, inter alia).

Investment in public transportation has funded notably expensive public works projects which have yielded only a pittance of an improvement to the transit situation. This is not unlike what the robber barons & exploiters of the RR industry did during the final quarter of the 19th century.

Please tell us, Larry, how much per linear foot have we paid so far for the 1.7 miles of the 2nd Ave. subway currently in service?
July 9, 1:32 pm
Dwayne from Queens says:
ya blame the ineptitudes and failures of public transportation on 'federal government. Right.
July 10, 9:12 am
The Venerable Stan from Flushing says:
Dwayne— These is enough blame to indite governments at every level!

It is unfair to place all of the blame on the Federalies, EXCEPT in the case of AmTrak, which is effectively a USA owned RR (with just enough separation to keep elected officials out of jail………maybe………
July 11, 9:52 am
Pedro Valdez-Rivera says:
Since the beginning of the MTA, blame on all of the previous city and state elected officials who give the MTA a bad rap until the present day.
July 14, 10:22 am

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