The question is no longer whether Rosa Parks can sit at the front of the bus. It’s whether she gets to ride the bus at all. Although more overt racial discrimination in public transportation has given way, inadequate transit services affect many people’s access to work, recreation and health services. And because of the high costs of owning and driving a car, private automobile transportation is often not an affordable option.
Federal policy has heavily favored automobile use, with $205 billion provided by the Highway Trust Fund for state road projects since 1956, compared to only $50 billion for mass transit over the past 30 years. Highway investments provide less direct benefit to the poor: In 1990 half of the households without access to a car earned less than $10,000 (78 percent of the households without access to a car earned less than $20,000), while … Read the rest