FY 1979 Year End Summary of UMTA’s Transit Assistant Program
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FY 1979 Year End Summary of UMTA’s Transit Assistant Program

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    World War II and the early 1970 's mark high and low points of American public transit ridership in modern times ^ The var years brought transit ridership to a peak in 1946^ Home front shortages, gas rationing, high employment, manufacturing of tanks and military vehicles instead of private automobiles and auto parts, and the loss of overseas raw materials for tire manufacturing forced Americans to rely heavily on public transportation^ In the late forties and fifties when consumer goods replaced military material, the private automobile quickly became the standard transportation mode^ Rapid suburbanization and an ambitious road-building program discouraged travel by transit. Cheap gasoline prices permitted motorists to travel freely over modern roads and super highways, but urban areas suffered serious traffic congestion and the health hazards created by auto pollution. Public transit, at this time, was reducing service, neglecting maintenance, and experiencing a general deterioration. Those who had no other transportation, the elderly, the poor, handicapped persons and youngsters, particularly suffered from limited mobility. These problems at the local level became a national concern in the early 1960 's. Congress passed the Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964 that provides federal assistance to the nation's public transit industry. In 1968, The Urban Mass Transportation Administration (UMTA) was established within the U.S. Department of Transportation. Since the energy crisis of the early 1970 's and the end to cheap gasoline, which rose in price to over one dollar per gallon in 1979, public transit ridership has been increasing across the country. Ridership in 1979 reached a 30 year high, over eight billion passenger trips.
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