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ATU, Larsen stress importance of getting out the ‘transit vote’

(From left) ATU 1576 Vice President Rick Jurkovic, ATU 1576 President Kathleen Custer, U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen and ATU 1576 Financial Secretary Patty Ceis at the Oct. 26 event.

EVERETT (Oct. 30) — U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen (D-2nd) joined officials from the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1576 and Community Transit, transit workers, passengers, and other advocates at a rally on Oct. 26 to mobilize riders to vote and draw attention to the vital role public transportation plays in Snohomish County’s economy as part of “National Transit Voter Week.”

The week of action was part of an ongoing Get Out the Vote campaign by the ATU to get public transit riders to vote on Nov. 6. The goal is to make mass transit an issue in this election and beyond.

“We can’t have a big league economy with a little league infrastructure,” Larsen said. “Mass transit is a critical component of our transportation infrastructure that keeps our people and commerce moving in Northwest Washington. Congress must reaffirm its commitment to investing in public transportation as well as rebuilding our roads, bridges and highways. I’m prepared to return to Washington, D.C., to do just that.”

The ATU estimates that 1 million pieces of literature have been distributed across the country by more than 10,000 off-duty ATU members to urge riders at bus stops and rail stations to become informed “transit voters.”

“Congressional candidates will be at public transit events this week across the nation to draw attention to the role public transportation plays in driving our economy, reducing our dependence on foreign oil, easing traffic congestion, providing mobility for those who cannot drive, and much more,” said ATU Local 1576 President Kathleen Custer. “This week is part of our ongoing effort to give riders a stronger voice in Washington.”

Transit ridership is higher than it’s been in decades, yet transit systems are still cutting service and raising fares because they don’t have enough money to run their service at current levels. The ATU commends elected officials and candidates all over the U.S.; who are taking a strong public stand for better mass transit and recognize the critical role public transportation plays in communities across the country.

“Congressman Larsen recognizes the importance of public transit and that riders can make a real difference in this election,” Custer said. “Some 36,000 passengers ride Community Transit each day and that is a powerful block of voters that can impact the outcome of this critical election.”

For more information, visit the ATU Local 1576 website.

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