Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1976 Term Paper

Pages: 12 (4093 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 8  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Transportation

Public Transportation Policy

The United States is considered to be one of the most modern states in the world. It represents a symbol of democracy, technology, and innovation. At the same time however, it has often been envied by more traditional societies and nations with a longer history for its sense of evolution and the rapid growth of the nation, particularly starting from the end of the American Revolution. However, it must be noted that the status the U.S. enjoys at the moment as the end of a cultural road and the destination place for most of the people in the world is in fact the result of historical development and a constant desire to improve the conditions of its citizens as well as for any inhabitant of the U.S. These attempts are visible in all walks of life, taking into account the constant desires to improve the legislative framework; in this sense, the Constitution was modified on several occasions precisely to ensure equal rights to the people living in America and to its citizens. On a similar note, there are legislative acts which have tried to ensure similar equal status for people, regardless of their race and color in areas such as health care, education, and even transportation.Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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TOPIC: Term Paper on Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1976 Assignment

While the issue of health care is strictly related to the condition of the human being, the matter of equal conditions and access to education is as well an aspect which regard human rights and the individual's right to personal improvement, the matter of ensuring Public Transportation can be seen as a method for increasing the comfort and ease of the urban citizens. Nonetheless, the initiatives that have been taken in this regard tried to consider a broader array of aspects related to life in America. However, in order to understand the way in which the initiatives in the transportation filed have taken effect and have influenced the lives of people in America, it is important to consider the historical background of the transportation issue; secondly, it is also important to see the steps that have been made in order to reach positive results in this area. Thirdly, in order to see the actual effects of the measures taken at the time and in relation to the acts submitted by the Congress, it is essential to have a view on the particular results of the policy that is conducted in transportation. Finally, in the concluding remarks it is essential to see the way in which these acts had a positive or negative effect on the society and the extent in which improvements can be made.

First and foremost, the issue of public transport has been often regarded indeed as a means to ensure the population a means of movement from one place to another. It includes all available possibilities of transportation through which people do not use their own vehicles. Even if today, the public transportation network is one of the most developed infrastructures in a country, regardless of its importance or financial means, it is a result of the historical experience acquired along the decades and a sign of modernization. This is due to the fact that the options for public transportation have evolved as technology has. Therefore, should one consider a historical approach to the issue of public transportation, it can be said that the invention of the wheel was the most important aspect in this evolution (Transit People, 2001). It enabled people to further discover the cart and eventually the car.

The United States is a rather vast territory and it was a crucial matter for it to develop an important road system that would connect the country from East to West and from the North to the South. In this sense, the end of the American Revolution was a significant era in the development of cross country transportation (Jenkins, 1997). The immigrants that arrived after the independent state of the U.S. was completely defined in terms of political and social order had an essential contribution to the establishment of the railway system as well as the road system. The transcontinental railway system was of immense importance for the development of the country west because it enabled people in search of adventure to head west and develop areas such as California, New Mexico and other remote areas that up to that point were inaccessible to the population est. Moreover, the transportation infrastructure that was created at the time also helped businesses flourish and families improve both the quality of their lives financially speaking as well as their existence in terms of modernity and life style.

The end of the identity struggle of the American people was followed by a mass construction of the country with the sole aim of trying to benefit from all the resources available to the country, especially taking into account the wide variety of resources, the El Dorado area of California, or the possibilities for investment in the west. In this sense, in 1808, the first plan to build a viable infrastructure plan was underway. Thus, during Thomas Jefferson's presidency, the initiative of Secretary of the Treasury, Albert Gallatin "embodied perhaps the most revolutionary vision of any national plan: the creation of a truly democratic society through the planned settlement of a whole continent. The sale of federal lands would be organized to produce a society dominated by independent farmers, and this new continent of citizen-farmers would be connected to thriving cities and their world-wide markets by a federally-financed network of roads, and canals (and later railroads) to form the world's most productive economy" (Fishman, 2007). Therefore it can be said that the early initiatives surrounding the creation of a mass transportation unit were in the first place oriented towards an increase of productivity and the improvement of the economic situation of the country.

In the evolution of the transportation in the United States, an important role was played, although indirectly, by the Homestead Act of 1862. Although the act in itself was related to the acquisition of land by the farmers with the promise to work it, the consequences this act had are important for the evolution of the transportation segment (Pence, n.d.). More precisely, it encouraged to develop a new sense of perspective in terms of transportation because the federal government began to implement the federal grant strategies that included federal financial resources given to states in order to build bridges and roads. These were however the results of the increased need of farmers to have possibilities of transportation to their farms the act of 1862 offered them. In this sense, through this policy, both the issue of the land was somehow addressed, and the matter of public transportation was also put to the attention of the federal government.

This 19th century initiative gave way to a new one a century later which followed the lines of the first attempt to construct a national transportation system. This time, however, the results were different than what the federal government expected. "the second campaign of national planning began exactly a century after the Gallatin Plan in 1908 with Theodore Roosevelt's great conservation initiatives. Haste had made waste, a whole continent of it, as the runoff from bare slopes denuded by massive timber cuts had turned fertile valleys into floodplains; eroded soil bankrupted farmers and choked rivers; plowing of semi-arid land threatened dustbowls; and a poverty-stricken rural population streamed into the already-overcrowded cities" (Fishman, 2007). Therefore, in the light of these events, there was an increased need for a reconsideration of the plans made to restructure the transportation policy and infrastructure.

Roosevelt tried to march throughout his presidency on an issue that had guided his presidential campaign, the idea of New Nationalism. On the one hand, it was an important idea that could be used for reconstruction because it gave a different twist on the entire situation and on the actual reasons for undergoing such a massive plan of infrastructure. Hence "Roosevelt's "New Nationalism" meant a re-assertion of "the common good" as the motive for national planning" (Fishman, 2007). This aspect suggested the fact that in the end the main goal of the transportation policy and infrastructure must be the protection of the national values while combining the need for technology with the need to keep the country's natural heritage untouched. On the other hand, the approach was useful because in the end it considered all the technological improvements such as the electric power that could be used with the higher goal of achieving prosperity and development. In this sense, "Forests in the highlands would be protected (or replanted if necessary) to restrain flooding; agriculture reformed to minimize soil erosion; the great rivers tamed by dams that would also provide hydro-electric power. In the West, the dams would collect water to irrigate millions of acres and thus spur a new era of homesteading. If the railroads had concentrated industry and population in the cities of the East and Midwest, a new federal system of navigable… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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