DALLAS - A downtown rally of transit union workers and their friends Oct. 25 underlined the national union's political program. They are asking every American to vote for candidates who support mass transit, but they are particularly working on building ties between the drivers and maintenance personnel in the union and the millions of Americans who ride public transportation. They hand out leaflets that say:
"By riding public transit you are:
* Easing traffic congestion on our roads
* Reducing gas consumption and dependence on foreign oil
* Keeping our roads safer -- riding a bus is 91 times safer than car travel
* Improving our air quality by reducing car pollution
* Saving up to $820 a month, nearly $10,000 per year, on transportation costs.
* Stimulating our economy - Every $1 invested in public transportation generates $4 in economic returns.
Congress has attempted to slash public transportation even as transit systems across the country raise fares and cut services. That's why this election, riders need to VOTE to support candidates who support public transportation."
Their program is outlined on www.votetransit.org. It includes an opportunity for everyone to pledge to "vote transit" in 2012.
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, the only Democrat that North Texas sends to Washington, told the rally participants that mass transit is the bedrock of the American economy. Everyone, she said, should support mass transit with their votes. She is on the Transportation Committee in Congress.
Johnson was joined by State Rep. Marc Veasey, who won the Democratic nomination in U.S. Congressional District 33. Because District 33 residents vote overwhelmingly Democratic, he is expected to join Congresswoman Johnson in January. She told the rally crowd what a great relief she expects to gain when Veasey brings a second Democratic vote into Congress next year.
Photo: Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson. Jim Lane/PW