Why The U.S. Has The Worst Public Transit System

Around the world, as many as 25 countries have high speed rail systems connecting major cities..
But the US has been lagging behind in modern
methods of public transportation. Recent reports suggest that American cities
rank among the worst for transit systems. So, why is US transit so bad? Well, after World War 2, countries like Japan
and Germany invigorated their economies through federally-sponsored rail construction. But the United States chose to invest in their Interstate Highway System.
Beginning in the 1950s, the government paved
tens of thousands of miles of road all over the US. This road network helped encourage the popularity
of automobiles, and more spread-out city planning, called “sprawl.” But the effects of city sprawl on commute
times, the rising cost of gasoline and oil, and growing traffic, have become a problem. In major cities, like Los Angeles, car traffic constantly clogs the freeways.
Even the New York city transit system, which
can serve up to 6 million commuters on a busy day, is known to many as being dirty, unreliable,
and underfunded. On the other hand, London, England has the
oldest subway in the world, and is significantly more efficient. The “Tube” was constructed in the mid
1800s, and serves a billion people per year, covering an area of 600 square miles. London also has a great rail infrastructure, with high speed trains reaching out to Scotland and France. Another success

story is Seoul in South Korea.

Its subway system is the longest in the world,
with 315 miles of track. The transit stations are high-tech and modern. Free wifi, heated seats, and TV are available
for riders. In many Asian and European countries, trains
are almost always on time, whereas New York’s subway, for example, sticks to the schedule
about 75% of the time.
Part of the reason for the America’s transportation
deficiency is the difficulty in passing spending legislation. Republicans in particular have been reticent
to raise taxes to federally fund transit programs. And a high speed rail could potentially cost
$150 billion dollars. But soon, legislators may have no other choice
but to invest heavily in newer, better forms of public transit. In 2014 the White House reported that up to
65% of America’s major roads were rated in “less than good condition.” Also, nearly half of American citizens lack
access to public transit.
Clearly, if the US wants to keep pace with other nations, public transportation needs to be a higher priority.

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