Metro Magazine

NOV-DEC 2014

Magazine serving the bus and rail transit & motorcoach operations since 1904

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balancing, and the interrelationship be- tween federal, local and regional govern- ment aspects of public transportation. All of them highlighted the importance of public transit to economic develop- ment, maintaining a good quality of life and reducing a city's carbon footprint. Responding to whether they had is- sues with getting locals to buy into the transportation vision, even if they have already seen success with other expan- sions, Mayor Parker explained that for Houston, there is certainly a demand for public transportation. "People want choices," Parker said. Mayor Jackson agreed that transit is about creating a via- ble choice — one that has to be efcient, quick, state of the art and not that expen- sive. "People are perfectly willing to let other people drive, but they won't settle for just anything," Jackson explained. When asked if they felt their cities were doing a sufficient job accommodating all ages and socio-economic ranges with transit, Mayor Parker said that it used to be about riders only having one option of transit, now it's providing the best of several. Mayor Koos agreed and said that as each city's infrastructure continues to improve, people consider the new transit options more frequently. Te three em- phasized that it's not about background, anymore. People want choices, no matter where they come from. Finally, Mayor Coleman broached the idea of funding. Mayors Parker, Koos and Jackson explained that they would like to see, in addition to more stable long-term funding from Congress, is certainty about where the dollars should be invested be- tween the choice of community devel- opment and simply rail transit. Tey stat- ed it would be nice to know that there is enough transit and community develop- ment funding rather than having to decide which is more important. Mayor Coleman also delved into the perception that gov- ernment funding for freeway expansion projects are expected but transit building costs must be justifed and recovered. There was agreement that a mix of funding sources is ideal, with more local control over those sources. Te group fnished by pointing out the cities they've observed with transit sys- tems they found to be exceptional, which with that package ideally being ready around the time the current MAP-21 ex- tension ends this spring. However, cit- ing the successful passage of two bills during the 2008 election year, the possi- bility was not ruled out by the panel that something could get done in either the so-called lame duck Congress or at the beginning of the new Congressional ses- sion in early 2015. U.S. MAYORS ROUNDTABLE During the Roundtable Discussion with American Mayors, moderated by Mayor Chris Coleman of Saint Paul, Minn., Mayors Annise Parker of Hous- ton; Chris Koos of Normal, Ill.; and Frank Jackson of Cleveland discussed infra- structure renewal, urban growth and development, gentrification, complete streets, sustainability, transportation re- 16 < m ETRO m AGAZINE NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2014 APTA EXPO 2014

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