August 10 Hearing on Better Buses for Keene, Brattleboro Region

On August 10, there will be a public hearing about a government plan to provide better local bus service in the Keene and Brattleboro region. The relevant buses will serve Keene; Claremont, NH; Putney, Vermont; and other towns.

The Southwest (NH) Region Planning Commission will hold the hearing at the Charlestown, NH public library at 226 Main Street from 5:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m.

Traveling by bus or train, rather than by car, reduces global warming, suburban sprawl, acid rain, lung cancer, and other problems.

Some 43,000 people are killed in auto accidents every year in the U.S. On a “passenger-mile” basis, trains are 38 times safer than automobiles, according to the National Safety Council. Local buses are 15 times safer than autos; long-distance buses are 150 times safer than private automobiles.

Some 70,000 Americans are killed annually by air pollution, more than one-third of which comes from transportation (almost all the rest comes from heating buildings and generating electricity).

Local, state, and federal governments spend far more on subsidies for driving—cheap gas, road construction and maintenance, cheap or free parking—than they do on trains, buses, bicycle paths and sidewalks. Because the gas tax is so much higher in Europe, and because money from the tax is used to lower the cost of train travel, it is often cheaper and faster to travel by train than by car, even in rural Europe. So far, public support for raising the gas tax in the U.S. to improve train and bus service has been unable to overcome lobbying by the auto, oil and road construction industries.

More information about the August 10 event, and free rides to the hearing, are available from www.swrpc.org

Help with lobbying for better public transportation is available from www.itdp.org

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