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Responding to record-high gas prices and the rising use of public transportation, the House of Representatives today passed HR 6052, the Saving Energy through Public Transportation Act, by a vote of 322 to 98 which authorizes 1.7 billion dollars to transit agencies across America to expand services and reduce fares. It is projected that over $80 million would be directed towards projects in Florida.
This investment is part of a long-term solution that gives Americans affordable and convenient alternatives to driving and allows transit agencies to keep up with drastic increases in ridership brought on by high gas prices.
“We applaud this legislation for its rare combination of practicality and vision,” said Florida PIRG consumer advocate Brad Ashwell. “The House recognized today that we cannot kick our oil addiction without driving less, and we cannot drive less without better transportation alternatives.”
According to analysis released this week by Florida PIRG, families are spending close to 100 dollars a week on gasoline. That spending has increased almost 40 percent in the last five months, and household spending on transportation is now the second highest expense for the average family - more than food, clothing, even healthcare.
Americans have responded to higher gas costs by taking public transportation at record rates in areas where it is available, and American drivers traveled fewer miles last year for the first time in almost thirty years.
Analysis by Florida PIRG shows that public transportation created net oil savings of 3.4 billion gallons in 2006. That is enough to fuel almost 6 million cars for an entire year and saves consumers about $13.6 billion in gasoline at today’s prices.
“Rising gas prices are getting people out of their cars in record numbers,” said Ashwell, “Investments like this give them a better and cheaper way to go.”
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