Report: Better Public Transit Could Boost MA’s Gateway City Economies
Saturday, March 16, 2013
Major investments in transportation across the Commonwealth are the topic of much discussion in the state Legislature at the moment, and MassINC said the potential benefits of such investment could be particularly great when it comes to expanding and improving the Bay State's regional transportation authorities (RTAs).
"To seize the opportunity, state and local leaders must fundamentally reconsider the role of public transportation in Gateway Cities and their regions," the report states.
As jobs have been decentralized, particularly in Gateway City regions, it has become increasingly difficult for residents who rely on public transit to access those jobs due to less than adequate public transportation services.
According to MassINC, Gateway regions are an average of 2.5 percent below the statewide rate when it comes to labor force participation, and even more so in areas beyond Greater Boston and outside the reach of the bulk of the MBTA's services.
"If all Gateway City residents engaged in the labor force at the statewide rate, Massachusetts would be home to nearly 50,000 more workers," the report says, and research would seem to back up the claim that better RTA service could make that happen.
Data shows that enhanced public transit service is directly correlated with increased ridership, and there is a strong relationship between the percentage of workers in an area using public transit and the percentage actively participating in the labor force.
Across the country, midsize cities with strong public transportation exhibit greater population and employment growth, as well as smaller growth in public assistance and unemployment.
"Particularly compelling," MassINC states, "this research suggests that better public transit would give Gateway City youth more opportunities to get jobs and gain early work experience, leading to earnings gains that persist as they move into adulthood."
Enhanced RTA service can have a positive impact on the state's housing situation as well. Often, the low cost of housing in Gateway Cities is offset by the high commuting costs of private motor vehicles.
"Providing strong RTAs in concert with commuter rail service increases the residential potential of Gateway Cities and their ability to provide a reservoir of new housing opportunity as the state’s economy recovers."
MassDOT's current plan would pump an additional $100 million into the state's RTAs each year, plus $400 million in capital funds over the next decade for new vehicles and facilities.
- Worcester’s Public Transportation 2nd Worst in NE
- NEW: WRTA Scores $11.1 Million in Additional Funding
- Murray: Mass. Underfunding Transportation Needs by $1 Billion Annually
- Grace Ross: How to Solve Worcester’s Public Transportation Problems
- RI Ranked Number One in National Transit Report
- Grace Ross: How to Rebuild Public Transportation in Massachusetts
- How Earn-a-Bike Solves Transportation Troubles in Worcester