Senator Reverend Warnock Stresses Need to Improve Public Transportation to Combat Persistent Poverty in Georgia, Across Country

Senator Warnock questioned experts on the crucial role public transportation plays in improving mobility, equity, quality of life for Georgians in both rural and urban areas 
Senator Warnock, Chair of key Banking subcommittee, highlighted how we must use comprehensive metrics to measure the efficacy of public transportation services to more efficiently deploy public resources
Senator Warnock: “Public transportation is not only a ticket to literal mobility, but also social mobility.” 
Senator Warnock questions witness Ms. Beth Osborne, Director of Transportation for America 


Washington, D.C. – On Wednesday during a Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on investments in the nation’s public transportation infrastructure system, U.S. Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA) underscored the inextricable correlation between expanding public transportation options and increasing all-around mobility and access for underserved communities and those living in areas of persistent poverty. Senator Warnock questioned witness Ms. Beth Osborne, the Director of Transportation for America, on the ways the federal government should support, prioritize, and improve transit service for people experiencing persistent poverty, both in our cities and our rural counties across the country, to improve their access to jobs, commerce, health care, and more.

“Too often in American politics, there is this false dichotomy between urban and rural which plays into the politics of division; we don’t get much done with that approach. The truth is in my home state of Georgia, public transportation not only connects people to families and friends, local shops and restaurants, and critical health services in big cities like Atlanta, but it also critical to opening the doors of opportunity in education and jobs in rural communities and small towns where people suffer from lack of access and mobility. In Georgia, we have transit providers in nearly 80 percent of 159 counties. We have 17 urban systems, 80 rural systems. I think it is important when we talk about public transportation that people recognize that both small towns and big cities have a stake in that investment. The truth is we are not investing enough in public transportation—especially in rural and low-income communities. Nearly 100 of our 159 counties are considered areas of persistent poverty – and that is not including the very low-income neighborhoods in Atlanta. Lack of economic upward mobility inextricably connected to a lack of mobility. Public transportation is not only a ticket to literal mobility, but also social mobility. Ms. Osborne, do you agree that public transportation improves mobility, equity, and quality of life in both rural and urban areas?” Senator Warnock asked the witness during the hearing.Senator Warnock’s questioning further demonstrates his commitment to passing the American Jobs Plan that would provide long-awaited investment in Georgia’s, and our nation’s, crucial infrastructure system. The American Jobs Plan will modernize public transportation with an $85 billion investment in the nation’s transit priorities, while simultaneously investing in other key features of the nation’s infrastructure from housing to broadband to roads and bridges.

In an effort then, to be fiscally responsible and to be efficient in the deployment of public resources to address this issue, there is a sense that looking only at [metrics like] ridership is a crude approach rather than smart and strategic approach to thinking about public transportation and thus mobility both physical and economic,” Senator Warnock added during the exchange.

See full video of Senator Warnock’s questioning HERE.