Session Type(s): Panel
Starts: Thursday, Jul. 16 10:30 AM (Mountain (no DST))
Ends: Thursday, Jul. 16 11:45 AM (Mountain (no DST))
Room: 228 AB
Streetcars are enjoying a renaissance as a funky, classic mode of transportation through historic and commercial areas of cities. From Milwaukee to Kansas City to Tucson, cities are building or proposing streetcars to attract high-end developers, condo-dwellers and shoppers to “trendy” areas. However, these “boutique” streetcars aren’t what they seem. They have no real use for people who actually depend on public transit to get to work, to the doctor or to church. These streetcars actually divert taxpayer money away real transit—buses and light rail—resulting in routes being cut and fares going up. Furthermore, new streetcars are often operated by private companies with a history of mistreating workers and rarely reinvest profits in the community they serve. They donate funds to elected officials, receive tax breaks and reap millions of taxpayer dollars in contracts and then take their profits elsewhere. Learn why today’s streetcars are making transit options and communities worse.
This panel is sponsored by the Amalgamated Transit Union
Born and raised in Memphis, Bennett is an organizer with the Memphis Bus Riders Union. MBRU, founded in 2012, is a grassroots organization of bus riders fighting for more accessible, equitable public transit. In 2014, Bennett joined the staff at Mid-South Peace & Justice Center as an Organizing Fellow. At MSPJC, Bennett coordinates the Center’s work for transit equity while also coordinating the Neighborhood Alliance, a coalition of neighborhood organizations resisting gentrification and displacement. His current focus is building solidarity between riders and drivers to develop a stronger alliance against the constant cuts to essential services and threats of privatization.
Today, the Memphis Bus Riders Union is a rapidly growing transit riders movement that has won several campaigns to stop funding cuts, restore the Memphis Area Transit Authority budget, improve bus shelters and service throughout the city, and push for rider input and accountability.
Jeff Rosenberg is the Director of Government Affairs for the Amalgamated Transit Union(ATU), the largest union representing transit workers in the U.S. and Canada, with more than 200,000 members in the transit, school bus, and over-the-road bus industries. He joined ATU in 2000. He oversees the union’s political program which supports transit and labor-friendly candidates. Jeff also represents the union before the legislative and executive branches at the federal, state, and local levels, focusing on transportation and labor matters that impact transit workers and riders. Prior to joining ATU, he developed expertise in transit issues as a policy analyst for the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). He earned a J.D. from Albany Law School in New York and is a member of the New York State Bar. Following law school, he served as Legislative Counsel for a Member of the New York State Assembly for three sessions. He also holds a B.A. in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland at College Park.