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Jason Donofrio,
Arizona PIRG

U.S. House Addresses High Gas Prices by Investing in Public Transportation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Responding to record-high gas prices and the rising use of public transportation, the U.S. 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 to transit agencies across America to expand services and reduce fares.

This investment is part of a long-term solution that gives Americans affordable and convenient options to driving and allows transit agencies to keep up with drastic increases in ridership brought on by high gas prices.

“We applaud this public transit investment for its rare combination of practicality and vision,” said Diane E. Brown, Executive Director of the Arizona Public Interest Research Group (Arizona PIRG).  “The House recognized today that we cannot kick our oil addiction without driving less, and we cannot drive less without better transportation options.”

According to analysis released this week by Arizona PIRG, American 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 the Arizona PIRG Education Fund 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.  Investments in public transportation give Arizonans a better and cheaper way to go,” said Brown.

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