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May 11, 2009

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AROUND THE INDUSTRY

Transit Benefits Emphasized at Washington, DC Event

The UN Foundation and the Center for American Progress presented a discussion on Information Technology and Public Transit on Earth Day, April 22, in Washington, DC.

Program hosts were former Sen. Timothy E. Wirth, president, UN Foundation; Bracken Hendricks, senior fellow with the Center for American Progress; and UN Foundation Chairman Ted Turner.

Emma Rothschild, director of the Centre for History and Economics at King’s College, University of Cambridge, and Harvard University, and professor of history at Harvard University, gave the opening remarks. Following that was a panel discussion featuring APTA President William W. Millar; Chris Zimmerman, a member of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Board of Directors and a member of the Arlington County, VA, Board; James Corless, campaign director of Transportation for America; and Scott Belcher, president and chief executive officer of the Intelligent Transportation Society of America.

Millar described the importance of public transportation to society and the environment. “People are coming back to transit and saying, ‘Wow, you’re what we need!’” Millar said, emphasizing that public transit is helping Americans reduce their dependence on foreign oil, reduce their carbon footprint, and create jobs. “We can focus on increasing miles per gallon and new fuels—both of those are important—but they aren’t enough,” he continued. “Transit is the third leg of the stool.” 

Echoing Millar was Zimmerman. “What we actually know is that people want to use transit. What they do is a matter of the choices they’re given,” he said.

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