Transit Funding as a Racial Equity Issue

A Washington Post article arguing that federal transportation policies have fostered racial inequity for generations cited research by Brian Taylor, director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at UCLA Luskin. The article said that newly confirmed Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg may not be fully aware of the complexities of allocating federal transit funding that historically have cemented existing inequities, especially in majority-Black communities. State and local transit agencies rarely make it a priority to help low-income or minority riders, the article noted, pointing to research by Taylor, a professor of urban planning. Transit spending has focused on commuter-oriented rail lines rather than bus service in deference to “the wealthier general voting public, although most members of this group rarely if ever ride transit,” Taylor’s study found. In many cases, it concluded, transit policy had failed to focus on the needs of transit riders themselves, particularly the poor and transit-dependent.


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