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A disappointing year for transit

Transit agencies nationwide have raised fares, cut service and jobs, and are not seeing as much revenue coming in, a transportation advocate said Thursday night, but the long-term trends are good for building new systems.

Art Guzzetti, vice president of policy at the American Public Transportation Association, told members of the Northern Virginia Streetcar Association that the only problem a community with a newly built transit system has "is how fast can they add to the system," Guzzetti said.

Transportation officials in Arlington and Fairfax counties are trying to decide on features of a Columbia Pike streetcar line as they begin working on environmental documents and federal funding.

While 84 percent of the nation's transit services raised fares and cut service and 90 percent have seen flat or less state and local funding, ridership has tripled in the past 15 years, he said, referencing multiple studies by his organization.

Locally Metro says dwindling bus ridership has contributed to its growing budget deficits. The transit system recently implemented the most-expansive fare hike in its history to help cover a $189 million budget deficit. Rail ridership so far this fiscal year is slightly higher than a year prior.

The federal administration has more grants perfectly suited for streetcars and community planning, he said, listing grants such as Smart Starts and TIGER, or Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery.

-- Christy Goodman

From the Post's archives:

Fewer riders on Metrobus

U.S. transit agencies need billions

D.C. Metro fare implements fare increases

New York lays off subway workers

By Michael Bolden  | October 29, 2010; 10:52 AM ET
Categories:  Metro, Transportation News, Transportation Politics  
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