TBT: Saturday’s Letters: Activists Offer Crash Course In Poverty

Problems all around us

I was moved by this article that summarized the effect that Philadelphia activists made on a councilman when they offered to show him “places where people are actually in poverty and actually would need help and assistance.” Sadly, Wheels of Success, a nonprofit dedicated to improving transportation for working families, can testify how our own bay area residents need help and assistance to escape poverty.

Tampa Bay’s mass transit problems are real — a lack of public transportation makes it difficult for low- and moderate-income working families to reach sustainability. Without effective and safe transportation, families find themselves trapped living between the poverty level and having a sustainable income, i.e., an income that supports basic needs including housing, child care, food, health care and transportation, while allowing them to save for emergencies such as illness or car repairs. Employees struggle to reach work on time when buses are late, and their employment options are limited by the bus routes. Those with older children struggle to reach day care on time so they are not penalized $5 a minute for the time their children have to wait to be picked up. There are many more very real challenges caused by poor transit in our community.

We hope our community leaders and voters do not need a “simulation” to understand the effect of inadequate transportation on families’ lives. We all suffer the delays and challenges of getting to work and school every day on our local streets. However, we hope that the community will consider taking a ride on mass transit to see why a “penny tax for transportation” is important to help families improve their employment options, care for their families and reach sustainability.

Susan Jacobs, Tampa

› Tampa Bay Times