If President Obama would ask me what to do with the $787 billion to stimulate the US economy, I would say invest some money in public transport in the big cities and densely populated areas. During a trip I took with my girlfriend through the state of California, I noticed that L.A, San Diego and San Francisco had minimal public transportation possibilities. Traveling from Yosemite Park to San Francisco by car we ended up in a slow traffic 80 miles from the city, because of the commuter towns.
As company’s compete which each other in this global economy to sell their products, part of the competition is based on the price. The price is partly composed on the costs of human resources. The cost of human resources is for the bigger part the salaries paid to the employees. As most of the jobs can be found in the densely populated areas as San Francisco Bay Area, Greater Los Angeles and so on, the big challenges for a laborer are to match the earnings of a salary and the costs of the mortgage of the house and expenses to commute to work. Houses near the center of the city, San Francisco for instance, tend to be less affordable for the common people so many live in suburbs, giving cause to a phenomenon called urban sprawl. They have to commute each day 2 to 4 hours to work and back, making the transportation costs a considerable part of the costs of living for them.
With good and smart public transportation in those densely populated areas the costs of transportation for many people can decrease which can result in lower salaries. This makes products produced in that area more competitive in the global economy. An added bonus is that jobs are created to handle the public transportation system and lower carbon emissions, because less individual cars are used.
Public transportation is common from Europe to Asia and is in those parts of the world accepted as a safe, cost-effective way to travel. Competing in a global economy is not only a competition between company’s manufacturing process, but also a competition how efficient a society is organized in terms of costs of living and transportation.