Issue 13 • Week of April 10, 2022
This Sunday, we honor what would be the 110th birthday of Jo Ann Gibson Robinson, unsung pioneer of the Civil Rights Movement, for her logistical leadership of the year-long Montgomery Bus Boycott. She proved that change is possible in mass transit policy by leveraging people power with a dispatch network of privately owned cars that predated Uber by over 50 years.
American public transportation has celebrated few successes since then. Repeated setbacks such as the century-long failure to finish the Cincinnati subway leads most people to doubt the feasibility of another new metro system any time soon, yet US ridership was up prior to the pandemic by 15% compared to the mid-1980s. Luckily, last year's infrastructure bill reverses decades of anemic federal funding that has averaged less than half of its peak of over 50%.
Now comes the real test, as modern investment in American mass transit has been the least efficient in the world.
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