|For Immediate Release:
April 22, 2008
Phineas Baxandall (857) 234-1328
Gene Russianoff (212) 349-6460
Groups Have Earth Day Message:
Investing in Transit is a Better Way to Go
New York City Area Achieves Half of The Nation's
Oil Savings from Transit
In the wake of congestion pricing not moving ahead, the need for strong new investment in public transit was underscored in a new report released today - A Better Way to Go: Meeting America's 21st Century Transportation Challenges with Modern Public Transit. The report, for the first time, specifies the oil and carbon savings provided by transit in the New York area, providing new reasons on Earth Day to support subway, buses and commuter rail.
Public transportation in metropolitan New York saved 1.8 billion gallons of oil in 2006, a savings that amounted to $4.6 billion for the region. By taking cars off the road and reducing congestion, transit also prevented emission of 13,973,040 metric tons of global warming pollution. The New York Public Interest Research Group released the findings, which were researched by the U.S. PIRG Education Fund.
"New York City is dynamic because so many people and ideas come together in one place. More public transportation allows people to come together without gridlock and with far less oil consumption," said Phineas Baxandall of U.S. PIRG and co-author of the report.
Baxandall added: "The report makes clear how much the MTA contributes to reducing oil dependence and global warming. Maintaining and improving the MTA is a smart investment for the future."
He noted that the report says: "The New York City metropolitan area... accounts for approximately half of the oil savings delivered by transit [nation wide.]" New York metro area transit saves 1,772 million gallons of oil. "That's 56% of the oil savings from the 10 top metro areas, which in turn account for 91% of the nation's oil savings from transit." (See charts on page 23 and 70 of the report.)
Transportation, according to the report, is the largest and fastest growing source of America's global warming pollution. New York's contribution to reducing global warming through public transit is far from secure. With the projected income from congestion pricing gone, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority faces a $17.5 billion deficit in its proposed $29.5 billion five-year capital program.
"More transit rides mean less congestion and less polluted air," said Gene Russianoff, staff attorney of the Straphangers Campaign, a transit riders' group.
New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the America's largest transit agency, saw ridership increase last year to an average of over 8.8 million trips per weekday. While the report highlights the profound public benefits from this ridership, the MTA has struggled with resulting overcrowding due to its constricted budget. Agency fares already comprise 54 percent of operating expenses, far more than the 40 percent on average covered by other large transit agencies around the nation.
The report is available at: http://www.uspirg.org/uploads/2q/fV/2qfVu2ZrflTk-TnRQEDdDw/A-Better-Way-to-Go-vUSPIRG.pdf. Click here to read the Executive Summary.
# # #