The current draft focuses on transit as a service to transit dependent/low income populations. Recent history in our revitalizing urban centers shows a new and important fact: Public transportation provides quantifiable economic, social and environmental benefits which contribute to increasing economic competitiveness of our nation’s great cities. The section on public transportation could be strengthened to include the many economic benefits of transit, including:
• Decreasing single-occupant automobile trips, resulting in decreased congestion; greater worker productivity; reduced household transportation expenses; and decreased greenhouse gas emissions
• Decreasing the need for parking in urban city centers, reducing costs for developers and employers, and freeing up real estate for more economically productive uses
• Promoting density and proximity, which together increase benefits that businesses realize when co-locating (“agglomeration economies”), and also have been shown to increase gross metropolitan product (GMP) http://usj.sagepub.com/content/early/2013/08/01/0042098013494426
• Increasing the pool of workers and customers for companies, and
• Increasing property value around transit stops, which generates increased property tax revenue
All of the above benefits should increase a region’s economic competitiveness. In fact, WMATA found a strong correlation between regional economic competitiveness and transit availability per capita, as documented in the “Momentum: The Next Generation of Metro” strategic plan document.
See http://wmata.com/momentum/momentum-full.pdf graph on page 17.