Many Louisianans do not have a car.
They work hard, they contribute to the economy, and they subsidize our transportation needs, paying their taxes without a return on their investment in the form of a reliable, efficient, frequent, and consistent public transit system. What if our assessment of public transit centered around those who have the greatest challenge getting around to their families and jobs but then also expanded to an evaluation of how much quality of life is missed out on when the only means of getting around is by car? Think about the long commutes; the unexpected traffic jams; the pollution exposure; and the amount of time sitting stagnantly. What if all of our needs could be met? What if we expanded upon this vision in a way that radically changes how we experience a full and happy life made possible by better transit?
In this white paper, we set out to propose new systems from the bottom-up that build around those who need the systems most, who need public transit not just to exist, but to exist as a public good and a civil right. We need state leadership and state agencies to act upon the importance of investing in infrastructure and transit at the micro level, to commit to public transit at the local level prior to taking on megaprojects that do not feed into sufficient and robust transit systems at their destination nor at their origin. Transit projects that move the most people, transit projects that are electric and good for our environment, and transit projects that make sense in their utility for the given area have to take precedence over shiny projects that are ultimately ineffective. Expanding highways and digging at the backlog of infrastructure projects are no longer viable means of moving people and goods in a safe manner that helps us tackle the climate crisis. We have to remember that our neighbors, co-workers, and friends without cars will never keep up with the car-centric society we have created. We can regain healthier, more full lives with cleaner forms of travel. We can make memories without the hustle of traffic every time we leave the house. Journey with us through the many reasons for why it is time for a statewide connectivity plan that gets each of us reliably, safely, and frequently to where we need to be on time.