More public transit—except buses—on road to privatization

Capital News Service
LANSING — Most public transit agencies across the country contract with private firms to provide some services and operations, a new federal study shows. A survey by the General Accountability Office found that local agencies across the country are most likely to contract out for paratransit services for disabled riders, dial-a-ride – or demand-response – and commuter rail service. “Transit agencies most consistently cite reducing costs as a factor influencing their decision to contract,” said GAO, a nonpartisan investigatory arm of Congress. “Contracting can reduce costs because contractors’ workforces are more flexible, with more employees working in part-time positions, and lower insurance costs, among other things.”
Other common reasons are more efficiency, more flexibility and starting new services, it said. Michigan has a long history of helping to fund public transit in every county, according to Clark Harder, executive director of the Michigan Public Transit Association.

Millennials' message: we drive less

Capital News Service
LANSING- The Millennial Generation is shying away from the driver’s seat, according to a new report. “Moving Off The Road,” published by the nonprofit Public Interest Research Group, suggests working from home, economic factors and urban population contributed to less driving nationwide. In 2013, Michigan drivers traveled almost 6.7 percent fewer miles than in 2005 and 7.6 percent fewer miles than in 2007, the peak driving year. Those in their late teens to early 30s strongly lead the trend. And as the trend is expected to continue, many Millennials are transporting themselves in different ways.