Transportation choice and quality are something that effect us every day as Philadelphians. Though nearly all of us walk throughout the city, there are a number of other choices we can make as consumers and citizens. Some of us chose to bike, while others take some form of SEPTA, be it regional rail, trolley or bus. And still many of us continue to drive in our private cars. Car ownership is expensive, costing on average at least $10,000 per year between car payments, insurance and fuel.
Yet our elected officials here in Philadelphia, already some of the most handsomely paid in the nation, get an added perk. Despite the perennial budget crises affecting the city, you and I as citizens of Philadelphia, are paying for their cars.
In fact, we're paying for a whole fleet of cars. What's worse, many of these cars are being parked on City Hall in illegal spots you and I would get towed for parking in. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in our money is being used so that our elected officials can chauffeur themselves around our city parking just about anywhere they like without consequence and at very little cost to themselves.
More than just the cost, how can we expect our elected officials to make sound decisions regarding transportation planning and funding when publicly-financed fleets of cars allow city council and the mayor to completely avoid using public transportation, bike lanes or even our taxicabs and ride-share?
That's why we're calling on all mayoral and city council (district and at large candidates) to forego their cars and take public transportation, bikes or taxis for a week. Why next week? Well on April 9th, National Stand Up For Transportation Day will be highlighting America's sagging investment in public infrastructure and calling on elected officials to do something about it. What better way for our elected officials to understand the needs of their constituents than by using the transportation systems a majority of Philadelphians use.
Council and mayoral candidates, we look forward to your tweets and photo tweets about how you're getting around next week. Tag us @5thSq and we'll highlight noteworthy posts.