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This Transit Equity Day Honor Rosa Parks by Demanding Equitable and Robust Public Transit

Silver Spring, MD – Amalgamated Transit Union International President John Costa released the following statement to mark Transit Equity Day in celebration of Rosa Park’s birthday.

“Transit Equity Day is a day for us to come together to remember a pivotal moment in civil rights history when Rosa Parks defied an unjust law by refusing to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama, bus to a white man.

“Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. joined Rosa Parks and intrinsically linked her act of defiance to the right to have a decent home, the right to vote, the right to a good job, the right to join a union, and the overall right to have equal access to a good life. As King proclaimed, public transportation is indeed a civil right.

“This Transit Equity Day, we must recognize the disparities that still exist in public transportation today. Racism continues to shape public transit. When it comes to funding public transit, we are still seeing increasingly poor service in disadvantaged communities and areas of persistent poverty where people are more likely to be transit-dependent to get to good jobs, medical appointments, groceries, and other essential services.  

“Transit service cuts have unfortunately become commonplace, especially for people of color and low-income families. This Transit Equity Day, we can change that. Through a transformational bill introduced by Congressman Hank Johnson (GA), our transit systems could see substantial improvements through $80 billion allocated to operations funding over the next four years through the Stronger Communities through Better Transit Act.

“The importance of operations funding cannot be overstated. The ATU has consistently advocated for more operations funding, as opposed to just capital funding, because it’s the lifeblood of our transit systems. We can have the latest technology and equipment, but if we don’t invest in our workforce and day-to-day operations, including maintenance, then we’re left with empty and unsafe transit systems.

“This year, to celebrate Rose Park’s birthday, the ATU is joining forces with environmental groups, riders, disability advocates, and many more to call for increased investment in public transit by demanding Congress act on Rep. Johnsons' bill.

“Let’s invest in public transit to create a more just, clean, and accessible future for all. For Rosa and all those who came before us, Happy Transit Equity Day.”