On 2/20/18, the Faculty Federation of Raritan Valley Community College passed a resolution supporting policies that promote public transit. The connection between this issue and labor is far stronger than might appear at first blush, according to RVCC economics professor Dan Aronson.
Aronson said, “Convenient public transit reduces automobile costs. Convenient transit also frees up parking lots for residential development – which would reduce housing costs for future buyers via the increase in supply. Jason Furman, chair of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, observed that housing in regions with insufficient supply was up to 50% more expensive than in regions with abundant supply. The upshot is that, over time, the two largest portions of the average household’s budget can be significantly reduced. In turn, lower household costs reduce necessary work time. This goes to the very heart of labor.
The current policy of subsidizing driving, by undercutting the market for transit alternatives, prevents us from enjoying the high-quality/low-cost lifestyle described above. That’s why the resolution calls for user fees, rather than subsidies for driving.
The resolution calls for the newly generated revenues from the user fees to be earmarked for improved transit alternatives, and delineates other means for promoting transit alternatives. As transit alternatives expand, not only are the higher user fees for driving easily avoided – but we gain the opportunity to enjoy a high-quality/low-cost lifestyle.”