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What Would Public Transit Supporters Ask the Presidential Candidates?

What if one of the presidential or vice presidential candidates went along with you on your commute and you had the opportunity to ask him a question about improving our nationwide surface transportation system? What would you ask?

After two presidential and one vice-presidential debates, there is still no substantive discussion about how to improve our nationwide surface transportation system. So APTA posed this question to more than 132,000 public transit users and supporters on Facebook about what they would ask the candidates. Many focused on asking the candidates directly how they would expand public transportation in this country.

“It is important to raise the transportation issue among the American people since there has not been a strong focus on this topic thus far during the debates,” said APTA President and CEO Michael Melaniphy. “Public transit riders and supporters understand that investing in our transportation infrastructure is crucial for all citizens. It benefits all Americans—and investment is a key element to the economic vitality of our nation.”

Here is a small sample of the questions public transit riders and supporters would pose to the candidates if they had the chance.

* “What is your commitment to public transportation? Can we count on you to invest in modern forms of public transportation?”

* “What will you (your party) do to support mass transit expansion in cities that do not currently have a comprehensive public transit system?”

* “My question is: given the fact our current grid is outdated, when will we actually step into the 21st century and update it, and if you are not including a public transportation plan along with those updates, how do you intend to end our dependency on fossil fuels that are wiping humans from the face of Earth?”

* “When can we start an upgrade on our rail lines and services? When can we experience what European countries already know about moving people and decreasing fossil fuel dependency? Why not now?”

* “When are we going to come together as a country and improve mass transportation across the U.S.?”

* “When tax dollars were designated for the improvement of our highways, that was wonderful. However, why haven’t we seen more mass transit systems being put in place?”

* “The East Coast needs high-speed rail. How would you make this economically feasible?”

* “I want out of my car…We deserve a choice.”

* “Why isn’t there any will to stand up in the government and create a new WPA like we had during the original Great Depression? All the best infrastructure we still have around here in eastern Pennsylvania was built then as part of that program, but it’s old and crumbling and needs help. WHY can’t we repeat this fantastically successful program?”

* “Why can’t there be more connections between small and big towns using public transportation? Back in ‘the day’ they had interurbans which I think did just that.”

For more examples of the comments or to join in the discussion, click here.

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