A report released today by the American Public Transportation Association shows that Americans took 10.4 billion trips on public transit (including subways, commuter trains, light rail, and public bus) in 2011, a 200 million climb in ridership from 2010. The gain is associated with people rejoining the workforce and rising gas prices. But it is also part of a more long-term trend: Public transit ridership is up by one billion since 2000.
As the New York Times notes, the report comes as Congress debates how to fund surface transportation projects. House Republicans initially proposed a halt of gas tax proceeds toward public transit. Currently, the House and Senate are drafting dueling packages for highway, road, and public transit infrastructure.