NEW REPORT: Congressional Action on Transit Funding Could Transform Economic Opportunity in Pittsburgh

Image description: image focused on people’s hands holding the straps hanging down on the inside of a train car or bus. The image is from the cover of the new report, “Invest in Transit Service for Opportunity, Freedom, & Racial Justice”.

New Report from The National Campaign for Transit Justice, Just Strategy and Pittsburghers for Public Transit (PPT) shows that if Congress fully funds transit this summer, Pennsylvania residents would see significant economic and environmental impact

A new report released today by the National Campaign for Transit Justice, Just Strategy and Pittsburghers for Public Transit shows that if Congress acts this summer to fully fund public transit — including operational funds — Pennsylvania would see significant economic and environmental benefits.

This summer, Congress has an opportunity to make an historic investment in public transit, including funding to put more buses on the road and more trains on the tracks. With $20 billion in annual transit services funding, Congress can help reduce wait times, increase bus and train frequency, expand service, promote racial justice, and tackle climate change.

Image description: image is a .gif that rotates between two maps. The first map shows Port Authority’s current frequent service lines where transit comes every 15 minutes. The second map shows the potential frequent service lines with the availability of federal operating money and has many more lines that connect the entire county.

Today’s report shows how this funding will boost transit service in 9 metropolitan regions in Pennsylvania.  In Allegheny County, increased federal investment would spur service increases ranging from 25- 32% across Port Authority’s service area.

Notably, communities with limited access to transit service and high Black populations like Northview Heights could see their access to jobs within a 30 minute bus ride increase nearly 400%, from 7,093 to 33,446 jobs. 

“This summer, Congress has the once-in-a-generation opportunity to make public transit work better for communities ,” said Laura Chu Wiens, Executive Director of Pittsburghers for Public Transit. “This report shows clearly that such an investment would increase economic opportunity, racial equity, and help address the climate crisis. We need Washington to act, and fully fund transit. We cannot afford for them to miss this opportunity.”

For more than 40 years, federal transportation funding has been out of balance, with only a small share going to public transit. This disinvestment has deprived residents of the Commonwealth of the frequent, reliable, and accessible bus and train service they need to get to work and meet other day-to-day needs. The result is lost job opportunities, a setback in racial equity, and depressed economic activity for the state as a whole.

The disinvestment infrequent, reliable transit blocks economic opportunity for Black residents in Allegheny County in particular. Nationally, 60 percent of all public transit riders nationally are people of color, and one-quarter are Black. 41% of Port Authority bus riders are Black, according to Port Authority’s 2018 Rider Satisfaction Survey Bus Report. And people of color who take public transit to work are more likely than their white counterparts to have commutes that take 60 minutes or longer, each direction. 

News coverage of this report’s release