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'NYT' Exposes Orchestrated Campaign Against Public Transit; APTA, Stakeholders Respond

The New York Times published a front-page story, June 19, reporting on the efforts of Charles and David Koch to prevent new public transit projects across the U.S. from moving forward through an organization they fund, Americans for Prosperity.

APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas has sent a Letter to the Editor of the Times thanking the paper for calling attention to the Koch brothers’ anti-transit efforts. APTA members and public transit stakeholders have also been responding to the story in print and on social media:

From former Vice President Al Gore:
“This hits close to home. Literally. The Koch Brothers want more traffic jams so they can sell more petroleum. Then use profits to paralyze local politics and prevent solutions. Rinse and repeat.”

From Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ):
“Stuck in traffic? Trains delayed? Late for work? Missing your kid’s soccer game? Our nation’s crumbling infrastructure brought you by the Koch Bros.”

From Wall Street Journal reporter Rebecca Ballhaus‏:
“The Koch network is working to kill support for public transit initiatives, arguing that they waste taxpayer $$ ‘on unpopular, outdated technology like trains and buses.’ Koch Industries also has a financial interest in greater fuel consumption.”

From Rep. Mike Capuano (D-MA):
“Public transit isn’t a luxury—it’s a necessity for millions of Americans. I’ve been proud to fight for transit infrastructure projects in Congress … I’ll keep fighting for them no matter what the Koch Brothers try and do to stop us.”

From Jane Mayer, staff writer at The New Yorker:
“Excellent story showing how Kochs push their oil biz interests, disguised as philosophy, all over the U.S., killing majority support for mass transit with swarms of paid, hi-tech-armed operatives.”

From Streetsblog USA:
“The billionaire industrialist Koch Brothers are using their shadowy political network to kill local transit projects. Latest example: #Nashville.”

From Jamelle Bouie, chief political correspondent for Slate and a CBS News analyst:
“[B]illionaires effectively cloaking their narrow self-interest in lofty rhetoric of ‘freedom’ and ‘choice’”

From transportation consultant Jarrett Walker, author of the book Human Transit:
“This piece really captures the ideological incoherence of the Koch brothers’ war on cities. They will use any argument, no matter how contradictory.”

APTA urges its members to share the article with their stakeholders.
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