A new policy brief by Reconnecting America, a national nonprofit that assists in transit-related community development, makes a compelling case that there are serious macroeconomic benefits to ensuring that units of affordable housing are located near a city’s transit system. Also, it reveals just how much a low-income family can put toward other expenses when they live near reliable public transportation.
The authors make say that some of the most transit-dependent cities in the country have experienced special economic development as a direct response to investments in transit (decreased spending by employers on parking in DC as the Metro has taken shape, $8 billion worth of development in Portland related to comprehensive light rail) and includes information on how dependency on transit, in eight cities where that is possible, can save families the equivalent of community college tuition for two children or 75 per cent of a healthcare policy. The brief concludes with a set of concrete policy recommendations for federal, state and local policymakers that, if adopted, will make transit reliance by low-income people a real option across the country.
Read the full brief, entitled Locating Affordable Housing Near Transit: A Strategic Economic Decision, here (.pdf).