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Transit Projects Map Aims To Nudge Government To Increase Funding

Nonprofit organization Reconnecting America details the transit of the future if we are able to complete ongoing projects.

Betsy Mead
Betsy Mead on February 4, 2013.

Image and credits: Reconnecting America

A handy multimedia map may give authorities a much-needed jolt into funding proposed transport systems.

Reconnecting America, which aims to increase public awareness of transportation projects across the country, has released an eye-catching map to demonstrate the importance of improved communications.

The Transit Space Map, released earlier this year, highlighted 721 planned projects, not including those between states, which require government financing to go ahead. Potential expenditure isn’t available for all, but the 497 for which the nonprofit could dig up information will cost approximately $250 to finish. The catch? If federal outlay stays at the same level, it would take 78 years!

Cartographers could only obtain information—from blueprints, representatives and the media—for 109 regions. Total costs are likely to be much higher. To put it in perspective – the money available for transit projects, under the ‘New Starts Program,’ ranges from $1.6 to $2 billion.

Even though many of the projects will remain pipe dreams, planners seem to be getting more creative, and regions are “dreaming a little bigger.” There has been an increase in projects put forward since the map first came out in 2008, and in 2011, mapmakers recorded only 643 ideas for 109 areas. A colorful map won’t solve the nation’s economic woes, but it might make a positive communication. Reconnecting America’s president and CEO, John Robert Smith, noted:

This interest in transit opens a window of opportunity to make a federal investment that would create jobs, reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil, and enhance national and economic security.

Chief cartographer Jeff Wood said that he hoped the map, a “snapshot in time” would offer a “window into the magnitude of the need for greater funding and cooperation locally, regionally, and at the federal level.”

Will transport take pole position in the fight for federal funding? That remains to be seen but for now, looking, thinking and dreaming will have to do.

Reconnecting America

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