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Students learn about transit, and then some

Students learn about transit, and then some

American Public Transportation Association holds National Youth Summit

I spent part of this afternoon talking to a group of young people about the many benefits of public transportation. For tens of millions of Americans who can't--or choose not to--drive, transit is a lifeline to jobs, schools, groceries, medical services, and other essential destinations. When we talk about the transportation choices Americans have said they want, transit is a key part of the mix.

But, because not everyone knows about the value of transit, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) holds an annual Youth Summit to Advance Public Transportation. Each summer, APTA brings about 50 talented high school students to Washington, DC to learn about:

  • The environmental benefits of public transportation;
  • How communities can prosper through increased transit services;
  • The role of local and federal policies in public transit usage; and
  • Career opportunities in the transit industry.

  Photo of Secretary LaHood listening to questions from APTA Youth Summit attendees

It's important that America's future leaders appreciate the opportunities that public transportation makes possible. And given the fact that approximately 10,000 baby boomers are retiring every day, it's also important that we make the next generation aware of the career possibilities in the transit industry.

APTA understands this, and so does the Department of Transportation. So, when APTA brought its students to DC, I was happy to talk with them about the need for good, smart people in the transit industry and all of the good things public transit professionals achieve. We also talked about important topics unrelated to transit. The pressing need for young people to get involved in community and public service. The leadership of APTA in helping build world class public transportation systems in communities across America. DOT's efforts to promote livabile and sustainable communities and high speed passenger rail.

And the importance of driving safely--don't use electronic devices, always make sure to buckle up, don't drink and drive, and watch out for pedestrians and bicyclists--when these young men and women do get behind the wheel.

It was a great opportunity for all of us--APTA youth leaders got to learn about DOT, and I got to see that America is blessed with a talented young generation who can help us continue growing a 21st century transportation system that is the envy of the world.

Photo of a group of students

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