When I talk to people about how we can improve America's transportation, one response I hear over and over again is "more choices." Some people want to be able to drive; some want to ride transit. Some people want to walk, and others want to ride their bicycles. For trips between cities, some want to drive while others will choose a bus, plane, or train.
We know that, "If you build it, they will come." But we also know that when you improve the connectivity between available options, even more people will hop on board. It’s like applying the convenience of one-stop-shopping to transportation. And that's where the TIGER 2012 grants we announced last Friday will make a difference.
When pedestrian and bicycle paths connect to transit stops, more people ride. When you repair the roads and add parking near stations, more people use those stations. And if passengers can step off an intercity train and ride transit to their local destination, they're more likely to travel by rail.
Whenever we create options for people to leave their cars behind for certain trips, we help people avoid the cost of refueling; we help reduce roadway congestion for those who choose to drive; and we help reduce greenhouse gas emissions for everyone.
In cities as far apart as San Francisco, Detroit, and Raleigh, that's exactly what TIGER will help communities achieve.
And in Tampa, a TIGER award is supporting a "park once" concept that will allow visitors and workers to park in one location then use bus lines or the TECO Line Streetcar to get to different downtown destinations. This project will complete 12 years of planning by providing a 2.4 mile multimodal loop in downtown Tampa.
In Hartford, TIGER funds will help the city connect its historic Main Street with Union Station, the regional transportation hub for intercity rail and bus service like the New Britain-Hartford Busway and New Haven-Hartford-Springfield commuter rail. Integrating intercity bus and passenger rail connections with train, taxi, bike, and walking options at the historic station will make all of these options more attractive to travelers.
Knitting together different transportation options helps people customize a route that best fits their schedule, travel needs, and budget. And good connections between these options make all of them more useful.
We know you have places to go, and TIGER wants to help you get there.