Patrick T. Harker, CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, yesterday called for transportation equity to get workers back to work.
“If you live in a city with a large transportations ystem and lots of options, it’s easy to forget that, in substantial portions of the country, if you don’t have a car, you’re out of luck,” he said. He added that some workers in expensive metro areas travel three hours by public transportation one way to get to their workplaces.
Harker suggested regional solutions to the transportation problem, including public transportation, dial-a-ride transit for the elderly and people with disabilities, and affordable bank loans to allow low-and-moderate income workers to buy donated used cars through a nonprofit partnership.
“Transportation is essential to getting most people to jobs, and a region with low unemployment is stronger economically,” Harker said. “Transportation is not, obviously, the only aspect of infrastructure that affects economic health, but it is significant and it touches many others. .. We can create jobs at lightning pace. But, if people can’t afford to live near the training, or find a way to get to the jobs, it won’t do much good. We have to look at the whole picture, not just what we need to get the economy moving, but how to make it happen."
The Philadelphia Fed’s Economic Growth and Mobility Project focuses on finding solutions in the areas of job creation, job access, education, workforce and affordable housing. It looks for practical applications for research.