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dragt

Transit Advocates Unite

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I live in Grand Rapids, MI and we're trying very hard to get started on some transit projects including BRT and Streetcar. I thought it might be helpful to share some of the strategies are working around the country to develop mass transit.

Here in GR, I personally think that the work of a few UP'ers on the GR Transit Thread has gotten some attention and opened a few minds around town.

Personally, I was able to make a short video recently for a local website drawing attention to how much the bus system is already being utilized:

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That's an excellent video and represents a new era of mass transit. Unfortunately mass transit doesn't get the love it should from the government so cities are required to think of creative ways to fund new mass transit initiatives. The costs of constructing rail lines have increased substantially over the last few years making it out of reach for most cities without the federal government chipping in, which unfortunately is hard for them to allot money for given other priorities and our ever increasing debt in this country.

It is exciting (and great to see and hear) that GR buses are filled to the brim and residents are so open to taking the bus, especially young individuals! Here in the south the bus systems get bad representation and are seen by most people to simply be transit for the poor which is simply not the case. IMO northern cities have escaped this train of thought for the most part and those cities are more welcoming of mass transit.

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Yes, that video was very innovative and encouraging for those that are trying to promote mass transit. In my local area, Birmingham, we are slowly making strides by improving the existing system within the city itself, and by doing this we are hoping that the other cities in the region will jump aboard.

This past week the executive director of the regional transit agency, Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority, made an announcement to the expand the service to include a downtown streetcar route, the purchasing of 140 new buses and paratransit vehicles, and adding regular Sunday service. I think having a civic-minded government official along with the community initiatives are key to getting the job done.

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