Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Opinion

October 25, 2013

LEFFLER: In WNY, wheels are a must for upward mobility

(Continued)

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Stay with me here. 

Let’s say you live in Medina and want a job in Buffalo. With no viable public transportation, you’re looking at a daily commute of 41 miles in 48 minutes if you take the Thruway, or 45 miles in just under an hour if you prefer to not pay the toll.

Assuming 20 miles per gallon, you’re also looking at a daily cost of $15 to get back and forth. 

Most people aren’t going to want to deal with that frustration or cost. I mean, $75 a week just to get back and forth to work? So you either have to move to Buffalo or take a job a lot closer to Medina. 

For all intents and purposes, Western New York is very segmented. You live in North Tonawanda, you work in North Tonawanda. If you switch jobs, you move. 

What if we could live in one place and work somewhere else? It would enlarge the job possibilities for all of us. It would create more competition. And more economic opportunity. It would be good for employers and employees alike. 

But with no viable public transportation, forget it. And with no plan by the NFTA to ever improve, we’re just going to have to be happy living where we work. And vice versa. 

My question is, why are there no plans to improve? And why are we OK with that? 

I understand wanting to be proud of where we’re from and defending Western New York when outsiders mock it, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t want to improve. We should all get together at Delaware Park and talk about it. 

Just not on a weekend, OK?

Scott Leffler goes places. Just not via the NFTA. Follow his whereabouts on twitter @cottleffler.

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