Travis Horton: Mass transit benefits

March 1, 2014 

Since 1950, the American Automobile Association has published “Your Driving Costs.” The latest edition estimates the cost of car ownership at just over $9,000 a year. The AAA notes, “Actual driving costs will vary.”

For the sake of argument, let’s half that estimate here in the Triangle to $4,500 a year. If the Triangle deploys effective mass transit and 25,000 people give up their cars, all of a sudden $112.5 million becomes available locally for transit riders to spend or save. If 50,000 people give up their cars, the figure becomes $225 million.

What effects would a redistribution of these monies have on the local area? Certainly a portion would go to fares and additional taxes to support transit. Automobile dealerships and repair shops would take a hit. The sale of umbrellas would increase. Transit riders might lose excess weight and become healthier as their sedentary drive becomes a more active commute. Quicker commutes would increase family time together. Transit hubs would become lively places contributing to a sense of community. After hours, nightspots would become more popular and the roads safer.

I’d love to let my car sit. Anyone else?

Travis Horton, Cary

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