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Letters to the Editor


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July 5, 2023

Dear Letters Editor:
July, 2023 marks the 59th Anniversary of federal government support for public transportation.  The success of public transportation can be traced back to one of the late President Lyndon Johnson’s greatest accomplishments which continues benefiting many Americans today.  On July 9th, 1964 he signed the “Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964” into law.  Subsequently this has resulted in the investment over time of several hundred billion dollars into public transportation. 
Millions of Americans including many residing in Westchester County today on a daily basis utilize various public transportation alternatives.  They include local and express bus, paratransit or  van, ferry, jitney, light rail, subway and commuter rail services.   All of these systems use less fuel and move far more people than conventional single occupancy vehicles.  Most of these systems are funded with your tax dollars thanks to President Johnson.

Depending upon where you live, consider the public transportation alternative. Try riding a local or express bus, commuter van, ferry, light rail, commuter rail or subway.

In 1968, the MTA also acquired through lease the New York State commuter trackage of Penn Central’s Hudson, Harlem and New Haven lines, contracting their subsidized operation to Penn Central.  In 1976, they became part of Conrail.  In 1983 the Metro-North Railroad was formed to take over all of Conrail’s NYS commuter operations. The MTA took over all service in 1983, as the Metro North Railroad. There is also Westchester Bee Line bus system.

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Using MTA Metro or OMNY Cards provides free transfers between the subway and bus.  This has eliminated the old two fare zones making public transportation an even better bargain.  Purchasing a monthly Metro North Rail Road or MTA subway/bus pass reduces the cost per ride and provides virtually unlimited trips.

In many cases, employers can offer transit checks which help subsidizes a portion of the costs.  Utilize this and reap the benefits.

The ability to travel from home to workplace, school, shopping, entertainment, medical, library etc. is a factor when moving to a new neighborhood.  Economically successful communities are not 100% dependent on automobiles as the sole means of mobility.  Seniors, students, low and middle income people need these transportation alternatives.  Investment in public transportation today contributes to economic growth, employment and a stronger economy.  Dollar for dollar, it is one of the best investments we can make.

Larry Penner
(Larry Penner is a transportation advocate, historian and writer who previously served as a former Director for the Federal Transit Administration Region 2 New York Office of Operations and Program Management.  This included the development, review, approval and oversight for billions in capital projects and programs for Westchester County Bee Line Bus, Putnam Area Rapid Transit Bus, New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority, NYC Transit bus, subway and Staten Island Railway, Long Island and Metro North Rail Roads, MTA Bus, NYCDOT Staten Island Ferry along with 30 other transit agencies in NY & NJ.).
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