It’s election season, which means that candidates for all kinds of offices—local to state to US—will be calling you or knocking on your door or filling your mailbox. Each one is seeking your vote and is eager to find out what matters to you, and why. Tis the season to talk up transit, bicycling, and walking. And not only with everyone running for office, but also with your friends and family.
Often the decisions about transportation seem too big to influence. But, if you’re familiar with the way the food movement has grown and evolved in the last twenty years, you know that all it takes is paying attention to how your options—for eating or for getting around—become available to you. More people today have a sense of where their food comes from and how to choose healthier options. The same can be true for transportation—and make a big difference for individual health and the vitality of our communities.
Elected officials make a lot of the decisions that determine what options you have—whether bus or rail service is maintained or expanded , whether roads have safe accommodations for walking or bicycling, and whether businesses are required to provide bike parking. . The decisions often come down to where to direct transportation funding—and you can play a big role by making sure your representatives know what priorities you want to see in this spending.
Did you know, for instance, that the cost of getting around (i.e., transportation) is the second largest household cost—and takes a greater percentage of household income in lower income families? Think about it—getting where you need to go takes up more of your money than education, health care, or food. The only thing you pay more for is where you live. If you can focus on those two big costs—where you live and how you get around—then funds for other big needs can be easier to manage. This is true for individual budgets and for our region and state.
This election season, Transit for Livable Communities urges you to educate candidates and your friends about why transportation matters. Here’s an easy one-page flyer (PDF) to have on hand this election season.