The Ripple Effects of Transit Investment

Senator Max Baucus of Montana recently characterized the President’s new transportation bill as one that would benefit cities, and not his constituents. As I’ve mentioned before, federal transit dollars support rural transit agencies, too.

There’s another way that federal transit investments help smaller towns, as Tim Geithner points out. When Seattle beefs up the connectivity between its freight railroads and its ports, cargo shipping gets faster and cheaper – helping, say, a Montana cattle rancher ship beef to new markets.  When New York needs new rail cars for its subway system, production ramps up at the Kawasaki plant in Lincoln, Nebraska, where they’re made.

The point is, when it comes to transportation, all our destinies are intertwined. Approve transit spending in New York, and jobs are created in Nebraska. Improve Seattle’s ports, and new opportunities emerge for Western farmers and ranchers. Congress should keep this ripple effect in mind as they consider the transportation bill.