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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Connectivity & development: Strengthening public transit infrastructure

By Derick O. Ortiz Barreto

Special to The Star

On our island, public transportation services are notably deficient, unable to meet the growing mobility needs of our community. Buses, trains and existing public transit systems operate with inadequate frequency, poorly located stations and stops, and routes that do not meet current demands. This situation underscores the urgent need to adopt an efficient and reliable intermodal public transit system.

The importance of an integrated public transportation system is clear: it not only enhances economic development by improving connectivity and accessibility but also plays a pivotal role in enhancing public health, education access, and the overall quality of life for our citizens. It is crucial for the government to persist in investing in public transportation as a long-term commitment to the well-being and advancement of our society.

While implementing a public transit system may present initial financial challenges for local governments, the long-term benefits outweigh these costs. Federal funds administered by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) offer diverse financing opportunities that cover key phases of public transit, including strategic planning, efficient operation, procurement of modern and eco-friendly vehicles, and the development of zero-emission vehicle systems. Such investments not only promote environmental sustainability but also foster technological innovation and continuous enhancement of public services.

Municipalities such as Bayamón, San Juan, Guaynabo, Manatí, and Caguas have already demonstrated how effective management of these funds can positively transform the quality of life of their residents. It is time for other municipalities to follow this example, demonstrating true political will and a strategic vision to integrate our existing transportation services coherently and systematically.

Investing in an efficient and intermodal public transit system will not only strengthen our urban infrastructure but also promote the creation of local jobs, stimulate the economy, and improve the environmental sustainability of our island. It is time to act decisively to build a more prosperous and connected future for all citizens of our community.


Derick O. Ortiz Barreto is a graduate student at the University of Puerto Rico School of Public Administration.

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