(3/19/13) – IE Transit Talking Points Short
Combined with groups of concerned citizens and transit bloggers, Riverside County has two major transit advocacy groups serving the region. Those advocacy groups are Riverside County’s Transportation NOW and The Transit Coalition. Both organizations serve a similar purpose. For instance, Transportation NOW “has been a proud advocate and enthusiastic supporter of public transportation in Riverside County. (T-NOW's) efforts have produced results that will last a lifetime, and ensure that bus and rail usage remains an integral part of this region for years to come.” The Transit Coalition can certainly echo that statement. Both groups are also vital in allowing members of the public to take active roles in promoting multi-modal transportation in Riverside County.
However, there is a key difference between T-NOW and The Transit Coalition. Although both organizations are grassroots-oriented, T-NOW operates under the Riverside Transit Agency and its Executive Committee is comprised mostly of elected government officials and paid RTA staff; therefore T-NOW is government-led. In contrast, The Transit Coalition is an independent non-profit organization led by concerned citizens.
What does this mean to you? Generally speaking, at T-NOW, your personal views regarding transportation will be directly heard and considered by officials, but the government will call the shots on official positions and decide the actions of T-NOW’s chapters. More often than not, those decisions are not always best for the good of the people. However, to be fair, citizen's voices are certainly heard at T-NOW. Having this outlet for transit riders is important for Inland Empire mobility. In contrast, The Transit Coalition takes in commentary, ideas, and opinions from various sources and compares such remarks to the facts to independently draw positions and conclusions without inducing spun ideology. Those positions are then presented to government officials through various methods.
The United States of America gives organizations like The Transit Coalition constitutional privileges to question decisions and proposals made by those in power. For instance, it’s irresponsible to disregard Travertine Point’s sprawling development impact on I-10 freeway traffic through Thousand Palms and the San Gorgonio Pass. Likewise, how will future rapid express buses access the extended 91 Express Lanes from the Corona Transit Center if the closest proposed HOT access point is 10 miles away at the Orange County Line? Those in power within the county are not addressing these issues which is why both T-NOW and The Transit Coalition are needed for the future of Inland Empire mobility.