Saturday, January 5, 2013

Will transit riders be represented in the 113th Congress?

Bill Shuster, chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, has named the majority-party members of the committee, who will join the Democratic members announced a few weeks ago. With Chuck Marohn, I'm skeptical about what role the Federal government can play in achieving our goals, so take this for what you think it's worth.

I looked over the list of Republican committee members, and I thought, "wow, these guys (all but two of them are men) are really from the middle of nowhere. How many of their constituents even ride transit?" So I looked up the American Community Survey figures from Table B08141 for the percentage of carfree households, and the percentage of households where the primary commute is by transit.

Unfortunately, the ACS only has figures for the pre-2010 districts, but I tried to find districts that matched the ones that actually elected these representatives.

NameStateDistrictHometownPrevious districtCarfree %Transit %
Sam GravesMO6Tarkio5.95%6.51%
Frank A.  LoBiondoNJ2Ventnor City5.05%4.23%
Richard HannaNY22Barneveld245.89%3.83%
Patrick MeehanPA7Drexel Hill2.71%3.78%
Lou BarlettaPA11Hazleton3.18%2.03%
Gary MillerCA42Diamond Bar441.58%1.82%
Duncan HunterCA50Lakeside521.81%1.69%
Daniel WebsterFL10Winter Garden82.59%1.64%
Don YoungAK1Fort Yukon5.72%1.46%
Trey RadelFL19Fort Meyers1.88%1.44%
Thomas MassieKY4Garrison2.19%1.30%
Shelley Moore CapitoWV2Glen Dale2.80%1.28%
Blake FarentholdTX27Corpus Christi3.04%1.14%
Andy HarrisMD1Cockeysville1.63%1.08%
Steve DainesMT1Bozeman1.98%0.93%
Roger WilliamsTX25Weatherford172.25%0.90%
Jeff DenhamCA19Merced2.13%0.88%
Steve SoutherlandFL2Panama City2.39%0.84%
Scott PerryPA4Carroll191.99%0.79%
Reid RibbleWI8Sherwood1.77%0.72%
Tom RiceSC7Myrtle Beach12.79%0.67%
Rodney DavisIL13Taylorville191.61%0.66%
Larry BucshonIN8Newburgh2.40%0.56%
John L. MicaFL7Winter Park2.19%0.56%
John J. Duncan, Jr.TN2Knoxville1.73%0.43%
Thomas E. PetriWI6Fond du Lac1.72%0.41%
Candice MillerMI10Harrison1.56%0.39%
Bob GibbsOH7Washington184.52%0.34%
Mark MeadowsNC11Cashiers2.20%0.32%
Bill Shuster, ChairmanPA9Hollidaysburg2.67%0.31%
Markwayne MullinOK2Westville1.99%0.27%
Rick CrawfordAR1Jonesboro2.43%0.21%
Howard CobleNC6Greensboro1.67%0.17%

Now the Democrats:

NameStateDistrictHometownOld DistrictCarfree %Transit %
Jerrold NadlerNY10New York863.66%53.97%
Eleanor Holmes NortonDC1Washington26.03%38.02%
Michael E. CapuanoMA7Somerville825.75%34.30%
Albio SiresNJ8West New York1326.16%33.29%
Donna F. EdwardsMD4Fort Washington5.77%17.82%
Elijah E. CummingsMD7Baltimore10.86%13.51%
Daniel LipinskiIL3Western Springs3.50%10.92%
Sean Patrick MaloneyNY18Cold Spring192.93%7.47%
Dina TitusNV1Las Vegas5.73%5.46%
Eddie Bernice JohnsonTX30Dallas4.98%4.53%
Grace F. NapolitanoCA32Norwalk382.86%4.36%
Timothy H. BishopNY1Southampton2.12%4.10%
Janice HahnCA44Los Angeles363.20%4.03%
Rick LarsenWA2Lake Stevens2.01%2.73%
André CarsonIN7Indianapolis3.66%2.39%
Steve CohenTN9Memphis4.73%2.37%
Elizabeth EstyCT5Cheshire2.87%2.07%
Peter A. DeFazioOR4Springfield2.95%2.06%
Timothy J. WalzMN1Mankato1.96%1.48%
Lois FrankelFL22West Palm Beach2.10%1.20%
Cheri BustosIL17East Moline2.82%1.11%
John GaramendiCA3Walnut Grove101.69%1.08%
Rick NolanMN8Crosby2.04%0.97%
Ann KirkpatrickAZ1Flagstaff2.87%0.57%
Nick J. Rahall, II, Ranking minority memberWV3Beckley42.71%0.47%
Michael H. MichaudME2East Millinocket2.01%0.38%
Corrine BrownFL5Jacksonville31.56%0.28%

So what do we take away from this? Well, a lot of Democrats do represent cities, and transit-commuting suburbs, in contrast to the Republicans. But does that translate to actual support for transit? Jerry Nadler is the only member who represents a district with a majority of carfree, transit-riding households, and I like him a lot, but I haven't heard of much that Holmes Norton, Capuano, Sires, Edwards, Cummings or Lipinski have done for transit riders. Sean Patrick Maloney is definitely one to watch: if he can get an FRA exemption for Metro-North, that would be huge.

In terms of transit-commuting population, the top twelve districts are all here in New York City, including the 14th, where I live. There are seven districts with more transit riders than Nadler's, and twelve with more riders than Holmes Norton. They're not directly represented on the committee. Meanwhile, Howard Coble's district is in fact the district with the absolute lowest percentage of transit riders.


Matthew said...

Capuano's my rep. He's alright. Generally speaks in favor of local projects such as Green Line extension, Assembly Square and Fairmount. Sometimes he says weird things like that we should consider a commuter rail alternative to the GL extension, but it's still going ahead so...yeah.

Ben Ross said...

Donna Edwards and Eleanor Holmes Norton are strong transit supporters. When the Washington Metro proposed a budget that would have eliminated some bus routes a few years ago, Donna Edwards came to the public hearing and talked about how she had depended on one of those routes as a single mother who didn't own a car. And she has been a tremendous advocate for the Purple Line.

Alon said...

What the tables show isn't that Democrats are overall better, but that there are a few Democrats representing transit-dependent urban district but no such Republicans.

Dani said...

Average household commute by transit for U.S. is 5%. If you look at the median for T&I as a whole it's at 1.29%. If you look at average for T&I w/o NYC, D.C. and Boston, it's still under 3%. So they don't really "represent" the population.