The lack of adequate public transit services has historically been blamed on sprawling auto-centric metropolises, politics, image of public transport as a welfare/social program, lack of demand and so on. For decades public transport has suffered from a systemic lack of federal, state, and city funding. A whopping 45% of Americans have no access to transit.
With this influx of funds, America’s transit infrastructure can benefit from that much-needed makeover. For example, the allocated $5 billion for new buses will be divided equally between zero and low emission vehicles. The iconic yellow school buses are slated to be replaced by thousands of electric ones. Across the nation, American made, clean energy buses will ferry school children from one place to another. Amtrak is set for a revamp as well, with plans to deal with the maintenance backlog and building new lines to high potential locations.
In a decade long study done across the country, 19% of transit vehicles, and 6% of fixed guideway elements like tracks and tunnels were rated in “poor” condition. As stated on the official fact sheet of The White House’s dedicated webpage, more than 24,000 buses, 5,000 rail cars, 200 stations, and thousands of miles of track, signals, and power systems need replacement.
This investment in public transit is meant to improve the deteriorating infrastructure, upgrade fleets, provide better accessibility to the elderly and those with limited mobility, and cover larger areas to bring transport services to a wider range of commuters. Of course, this will also have direct implications on low-income households and, as data shows, communities of colour. They will now be more likely to take public transportation, helping connect them to their workplaces, communities, healthcare and so on.