Welcome to the world of transit deserts and extreme commutes, where your income can determine if and how you reach your job.
Source: S&P Global Ratings, January 17, 2019
S&P Global Ratings’ 2019 outlook for business conditions and credit quality across most U.S. public transportation infrastructure sectors, including airports, ports, federal grant-secured, and parking, is stable. We are maintaining our positive outlook for the toll road and bridge sector and revising our outlook for the mass transit sector to negative from stable.
Just last night, there was no end to the government shutdown in sight. But when airport workers started calling in sick and raising the threat of a strike, everything suddenly changed.
Source: S&P Global Ratings, November 19, 2018
Although ratings in the U.S. public finance (USPF) transportation sector tend to be lower than in other areas of U.S. municipal finance, the sector is among the most stable. In addition, transportation ratings are less likely than other USPF ratings to be raised, reflecting economic and competitive pressures.
Commuting is the most stressful part of the day for many people. It’s like a recurring nightmare — day after day, week after week, year after year spent sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic, stuck behind the wheel instead of spending time with family and friends doing the things you love. It takes a serious toll on the mind and body and on relationships. Not to mention, it can be seriously damaging to your health, leading to headaches, backaches, sleep problems, fatigue, mental health problems, and more.
The worst part? Commute times are only getting worse all across the country. In the US, the average worker spends 52.2 minutes a day commuting to and from work, but in many parts of the country, things are even worse. Over the course of just a week, that’s 4.35 hours a week spent commuting.
That got us thinking — how many days does the average person spend commuting to and from work over the course of their life?
We did the math for nearly 1,000 US cities. The average American loses 408 days of their life commuting, and in many areas, the toll is even higher.
Using the interactive map below, you can see how many days of your life you can expect to spend to commuting in the city where you live. Caution: the answer might depress you.
The automobile is a killer. In the U.S., 36,675 people died in traffic accidents in 2014. The year before, 2.3 million people were injured in traffic accidents.
During the past decade, over 438 U.S. municipalities, including 36 of the 50 most populous cities, have employed electronic monitoring programs in order to reduce the number of accidents. Red light camera programs specifically target drivers that run red lights.
In a study I co-authored with economist Paul J. Fisher, we examined all police-recorded traffic accidents for three large Texas cities over a 12-year period – hundreds of thousands of accidents. We found no evidence that red light cameras improve public safety. They don’t reduce the total number of vehicle accidents, the total number of individuals injured in accidents or the total number of incapacitating injuries that involve ambulance transport to a hospital….
Source: ProPublica and WBEZ, 2018
Parking, traffic camera and vehicle tickets generate millions of dollars in desperately needed cash each year for the City of Chicago. But for the working poor, and particularly for African Americans, paying for tickets can be difficult — opening the door to more fines and fees, and spiraling debt. Drivers who don’t pay what they owe face tough punishments from the city and state that threaten their livelihoods.
Chicago Hiked the Cost of Vehicle City Sticker Violations to Boost Revenue. But It’s Driven More Low-Income, Black Motorists Into Debt.
Source: Melissa Sanchez, ProPublica, and Elliott Ramos, WBEZ July 26, 2018
Now, a former official regrets the move and wants the city to revisit it. Some policies, she said, are “terrible.”
How ProPublica Illinois and WBEZ Worked Together to Find Thousands of Duplicate Tickets in Chicago
Source: Melissa Sanchez, ProPublica, and Elliott Ramos, WBEZ July 6, 2018
We heard from you about how ticket debt, especially from $200 city sticker citations, has affected you. And we would like your help as we continue our reporting.
Three City Sticker Tickets on the Same Car in 90 Minutes?
Souce: Melissa Sanchez, ProPublica, and Elliott Ramos, WBEZ June 27, 2018
Chicago has issued 20,000 duplicate city sticker tickets since 2007. City officials are now looking at whether this violates a city ordinance and say motorists might be in for a refund.
Chicago Begins To Rethink How Bankruptcy Lawyers Get Paid
Source: Melissa Sanchez, ProPublica, May 9, 2018
Judges are demanding that lawyers tell their clients that their other debts might not get paid, but their lawyers will.
Some States No Longer Suspend Driver’s Licenses for Unpaid Fines. Will Illinois Join Them?
Source: Melissa Sanchez, ProPublica, March 15, 2018
Our analysis shows suspensions tied to ticket debt disproportionately affect motorists in largely black sections of Chicago and its suburbs.
She Owed $102,158.40 in Unpaid Tickets, but She’s Not in the Story
Source: Melissa Sanchez, ProPublica, March 2, 2018
Still, we want to tell you a little bit about her, and about some of the other people we interviewed, because they helped inform our ticket debt investigation.
How Chicago Ticket Debt Sends Black Motorists Into Bankruptcy
Source: Melissa Sanchez and Sandhya Kambhampati, ProPublica, February 27, 2018
A cash-strapped city employs punitive measures to collect from cash-strapped black residents — and lawyers benefit.
The Many Roads to Bankruptcy
Source: Melissa Sanchez, ProPublica, February 27, 2018
Here are some stories of Chicagoans driven into ticket debt.
Source: Maria Matesanz, Eriq Alexander, Kurt Krummenacker, Moody’s, Sector In-Depth, July 17, 2018
Large road systems will experience more stable traffic and revenue trends in a recession than smaller or less well established systems, based on our analysis of their performance during and after the last recession. From a financial and operational standpoint, we expect larger toll roads to maintain steady traffic growth and performance with minimal negative credit effects associated with typical traffic and toll revenue drops seen during recessions. We define large, established toll roads as those that operate multiple assets and have been in operation more than 15 years….
Source: Rachel M. Cohen, The Intercept, April 22, 2018
The red-state school uprising is spreading to educators around the country, with teachers in Colorado and Arizona now planning walkouts to demand better treatment from state and county governments. But the widespread public support that has helped carry the teachers to victories so far has been less present for blue-collar workers following in their footsteps. In Georgia, bus drivers who organized their own work stoppage last week were met with public condemnation and immediate firings.
On Thursday, the same day that the votes in favor of a walkout were tallied in Arizona, nearly 400 school bus drivers in DeKalb County, Georgia, stayed home from work, staging a “sickout” to protest their low salaries and meager benefits.
Whether the school bus drivers can succeed in winning their demands and maintaining broad popular support remains to be seen, but the protest provides an important test case on whether these teacher movements will lead to a broader working-class uprising or stay limited to organizing among a narrower band of white-collar professionals. The bus drivers are not building their case around the idea that their unique talents merit greater monetary reward, but that they simply need and deserve to be treated more fairly…..
…..While the teachers strikes in West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Arizona have boasted the vocal support of local school boards and superintendents, the school district leadership in DeKalb County has offered no such solidarity to the school bus drivers. In fact, seven bus drivers were fired on Thursday, identified as “sickout ringleaders.”….
Madeline Janis, who pioneered local hiring agreements, is now enlisting cities to have railcars and buses made in America—by union workers.