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Sample Letters to Your Representatives

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  • 23 Jul 2018 1:30 PM | Rachel Albright (Administrator)

    A good public transit system is integral to providing and maintaining social equity in cities. In Arlington, a city of roughly 400,000 people, 10 percent of the population lives below the poverty line. Many are unable to afford cars for even one member of the household, much less two – an exceptionally dire situation given that Arlington has no public bus service. Arlington is not alone in Tarrant County, however, in not providing a good transit system. While it is true that Fort Worth does have a public transit system, it is also true that this system has lagged behind population growth and city-wide demographic and economic changes. The current system is not able to efficiently transport as many people to as many jobs and opportunities as it should. This has led to an economic and transportation structure in Tarrant County that favors car-ownership, forgetting that there is a sizeable population in the region that is unable to afford them. The current system in Fort Worth also ignores, whether in part or whole, geographic areas with large numbers of jobs and, in the areas it does cover, often does not run frequently enough to benefit current riders or to encourage new riders. This all has the effect of further marginalizing lower-income communities, leaving them behind while the city grows. 


  • 23 Jul 2018 1:30 PM | Rachel Albright (Administrator)

    A good public transit system is integral to providing and maintaining social equity in cities. In Arlington, a city of roughly 400,000 people, 10 percent of the population lives below the poverty line. Many are unable to afford cars for even one member of the household, much less two – an exceptionally dire situation given that Arlington has no public bus service. Arlington is not alone in Tarrant County, however, in not providing a good transit system. While it is true that Fort Worth does have a public transit system, it is also true that this system has lagged behind population growth and city-wide demographic and economic changes. The current system is not able to efficiently transport as many people to as many jobs and opportunities as it should. This has led to an economic and transportation structure in Tarrant County that favors car-ownership, forgetting that there is a sizeable population in the region that is unable to afford them. The current system in Fort Worth also ignores, whether in part or whole, geographic areas with large numbers of jobs and, in the areas it does cover, often does not run frequently enough to benefit current riders or to encourage new riders. This all has the effect of further marginalizing lower-income communities, leaving them behind while the city grows. 


  • 23 Jul 2018 1:27 PM | Rachel Albright (Administrator)

    Great public transit is vital to maintaining and increasing a city’s economic growth. Due to the increasing growth and sprawl of North Texas, especially in Tarrant County, cities who do not commit to increased investment in public transit are resigning themselves to ever greater traffic congestion – congestion that constrains the region’s ability to then grow economically. While a lack of good public transit infrastructure does large economic harm to cities, an investment in such infrastructure directly benefits the city and the surrounding region. Take, for instance, the fact that for every $1 invested in public transit, communities see a return of $4. Meanwhile, traffic congestion costs cities billions of dollars every year. Individuals in Texas cities lose roughly $1,600 per year while they are stuck sitting in traffic. Multiply this out through a city and the costs are staggering: the largest Texas cities lose between $2.8 and $4.9 billion annually. And, in the United States overall, congestion costs added up to $305 billion in 2017, a 10 billion dollar increase from 2016. The Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metro area was the fastest-growing region in 2017 and shows little signs of slowing down. While great in many respects, this expansion will no doubt significantly increase traffic congestion. Without an appropriate complementary increase in transit investment in Tarrant County, we are on track to lose much more money than we might imagine. 


  • 23 Jul 2018 1:24 PM | Rachel Albright (Administrator)

    It is imperative that Tarrant County, and Fort Worth especially, work to recruit Millennials (born roughly from 1981 to 1997) to come live, work, and play in the city and region. As the Baby Boomer generation continues to retire at an increasing rate, Millennials will become the key to strong economic growth in any city. A city that fails to attract millennials will not thrive economically in the coming years, as its workforce will continue to shrink. Fort Worth and Tarrant County must do all that is possible to compete for this demographic. A key element to attracting this generation is a thriving, efficient, and comprehensive public transit system. Millennials are less likely to own cars or as many cars than previous generations, and they see public transit as crucial to their economic and social well-being. Furthermore, Millennials, regardless of economic status, already use public transit at higher rates than older generations; they are therefore more likely to try to reside in cities that provide comprehensive public transit. They are looking for transit systems that can easily and efficiently connect them to their jobs, appointments, families, and friends. Fort Worth and Tarrant County must commit to investing in, and improving, its public transit infrastructure to provide such systems. Without it, the region runs the risk of losing an entire generation of the workforce.


  • 23 Jul 2018 1:24 PM | Rachel Albright (Administrator)

    Transportation Network Companies (TNCs)/ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft are often hailed as the next big thing in public transit. However, it is essential to understand that TNCs are not a panacea to transit woes, but rather a complementary component – they should be treated warily and need to be understood more thoroughly before they are used as an excuse to limit and reduce existing transit networks. Contrary to popular opinion, TNCs do not reduce the number of vehicle miles traveled on our roads, nor do they create any substantial decrease in car-ownership. In fact, 49 to 61% of ride-hailing trips would not have been made at all, thus directly increasing vehicle miles traveled, i.e., congestion. Furthermore, ride-hailing reduces bus and light rail ridership – to the detriment of our public transit systems. More concerningly, TNCs such as Uber and Lyft are known to use strong-armed lobbying tactics and have secured preemptive state law in 41 states, taking away some to all of the ability of cities to set their own standards and regulations. Finally, TNCs have been found to enable discrimination by both passengers and drivers, with both parties, whether implicitly or explicitly, discriminating against the other on the basis of race, ethnicity, and location. All this is not to say that TNCs cannot be used efficiently as last-mile/first-mile complements to transit systems – in fact, in this manner they can be incredibly helpful. However, they should not be treated as the solution to the future of public transit infrastructure.


  • 23 Jul 2018 1:22 PM | Rachel Albright (Administrator)

    The bus could be and should be, the future of urban transportation, and a good bus system is precisely what Tarrant County needs. If implemented or appropriately expanded, bus services can be a much-needed solution to our current transit and traffic complications. Buses today are quiet, they pollute less, they’re often electric or natural-gas fueled, and as technology improves, they are also becoming cheaper. Buses are simple, predictable, and easy to ride, and, unlike ride-sharing options like Uber or Lyft, they significantly decrease the number of cars on our roads – reducing congestion, pollution, car ownership, and all the physical and psychological ails that accompany driving. Increasing bus services will also help eliminate the tens of thousands of deaths caused by cars every year. And, unlike the car, which reinforces socio-economical divides in our nation, the bus connects communities and people and, when implemented correctly, can help create more equitable cities and regions. Study after study has shown that the recent decline in bus ridership is more or less a self-imposed problem and not a reflection of national disinterest in riding the bus. In fact, it has been shown that the nation-wide decline in bus ridership is a direct result of cuts to bus services and routes. Increasing bus services has been shown to, in turn, increase bus ridership – a “build it and they will come” proposition. Tarrant County has much to gain by increasing bus services - decreased congestion, traffic deaths, pollution and social inequality, and increased economic returns – and much to lose by not. 


  • 18 Jul 2018 1:39 PM | Rachel Albright (Administrator)

    Dear _______,

    I am a constituent who lives in your city/ district at ___________________. I'm writing to you today to encourage you to look into ways of increasing the scope of public transportation in our region.

    A good public transit system is integral to providing and maintaining social equity in cities. In Arlington, a city of roughly 400,000 people, 10 percent of the population lives below the poverty line. Many are unable to afford cars for even one member of the household, much less two – an exceptionally dire situation given that Arlington has no public bus service. Arlington is not alone in Tarrant County, however, in not providing a good transit system. While it is true that Fort Worth does have a public transit system, it is also true that this system has lagged behind population growth and city-wide demographic and economic changes. The current system is not able to efficiently transport as many people to as many jobs and opportunities as it should. This has led to an economic and transportation structure in Tarrant County that favors car-ownership, forgetting that there is a sizeable population in the region that is unable to afford them. The current system in Fort Worth also ignores, whether in part or whole, geographic areas with large numbers of jobs and, in the areas it does cover, often does not run frequently enough to benefit current riders or to encourage new riders. This all has the effect of further marginalizing lower-income communities, leaving them behind while the city grows.


  • 18 Jul 2018 1:36 PM | Rachel Albright (Administrator)

    Dear ___________,

    I am a constituent who lives in your city/ district at ___________________. I'm writing to you today to encourage you to look into ways of increasing the scope of public transportation in our region.

    Great public transit is vital to maintaining and increasing a city’s economic growth. Due to the increasing growth and sprawl of North Texas, especially in Tarrant County, cities who do not commit to increased investment in public transit are resigning themselves to ever greater traffic congestion – congestion that constrains the region’s ability to then grow economically. While a lack of good public transit infrastructure does large economic harm to cities, an investment in such infrastructure directly benefits the city and the surrounding region. Take, for instance, the fact that for every $1 invested in public transit, communities see a return of $4. Meanwhile, traffic congestion costs cities billions of dollars every year. Individuals in Texas cities lose roughly $1,600 per year while they are stuck sitting in traffic. Multiply this out through a city and the costs are staggering: the largest Texas cities lose between $2.8 and $4.9 billion annually. And, in the United States overall, congestion costs added up to $305 billion in 2017, a $10 billion dollar increase from 2016. The Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metro area was the fastest-growing region in 2017 and shows little signs of slowing down. While great in many respects, this expansion will no doubt greatly increase traffic congestion. Without an appropriate complementary increase in transit investment in Tarrant County, we are on track to lose much more money than we might imagine.


  • 17 Jul 2018 2:01 PM | Rachel Albright (Administrator)

    Dear ___________,

    I am a constituent who lives in your city/ district at ___________________.  I'm writing to you today to encourage you to look into ways of increasing the scope of public transportation in our region.


    It is imperative that Tarrant County, and Fort Worth especially, work to recruit Millennials (born roughly from 1981 to 1997) to come to live, work, and play in the city and region. As the Baby Boomer generation continues to retire at an increasing rate, Millennials will become the key to strong economic growth in any city. A city that fails to attract millennials will not thrive economically in the coming years, as its workforce will continue to shrink. Fort Worth and Tarrant County must do all that is possible to compete for this demographic. A key element to attracting this generation is a thriving, efficient, and comprehensive public transit system. Millennials are less likely to own cars or as many cars than previous generations, and they see public transit as crucial to their economic and social well-being. Furthermore, Millennials, regardless of economic status, already use public transit at higher rates than older generations; they are therefore more likely to try to reside in cities that provide comprehensive public transit. They are looking for transit systems that can easily and efficiently connect them to their jobs, appointments, families, and friends. Fort Worth and Tarrant County must commit to investing in, and improving, its public transit infrastructure to provide such systems. Without it, the region runs the risk of losing an entire generation of the workforce.


  • 17 Jul 2018 2:00 PM | Rachel Albright (Administrator)

    Dear ___________,

    I am a constituent who lives in your city/ district at ___________________.  I'm writing to you today to encourage you to look into ways of continuing to fund public transportation services in our city.

    Transportation Network Companies (TNCs)/ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft are often hailed as the next big thing in public transit. However, it is important to understand that TNCs are not a panacea to transit woes, but rather a complementary component – they should be treated warily and need to be understood more fully before they are used as an excuse to limit and reduce existing transit networks. Contrary to popular opinion, TNCs do not reduce the number of vehicle miles traveled on our roads, nor do they create any substantial decrease in car-ownership. In fact, 49 to 61% of ride-hailing trips would not have been made at all, thus directly increasing vehicle miles traveled, i.e. congestion. Furthermore, ride-hailing reduces bus and light rail ridership – to the detriment of our public transit systems. More concerning, TNCs such as Uber and Lyft are known to use strong-armed lobbying tactics and have secured preemptive state law in 41 states, taking away some to all of the ability of cities to set their own standards and regulations. Finally, TNCs have been found to enable discrimination by both passengers and drivers, with both parties, whether implicitly or explicitly, discriminating against the other on basis of race, ethnicity, and location. All this is not to say that TNCs cannot be used efficiently as last-mile/first-mile complements to transit systems – in fact, in this manner they can be incredibly helpful. However, they should not be treated as the solution to the future of public transit infrastructure.


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CONTACT US

(682) 231-2036

PO Box 470474
Fort Worth, TX 76147

rachel@TarrantTransitAlliance.org

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