This is an archived article.

May 14, 1997

Social equity of public transit is topic of 1997 UW Evans lecture

Who should be served by public transit and who should pay for it? These were among the questions that confronted Puget Sound voters in November’s Regional Transportation Authority ballot issue and that will be addressed in the 1997 Daniel L. and Irma Evans Lecture May 29 at the University of Washington.

Martin Wachs, director of the University of California Transportation Center and professor at the University of California, Berkeley, will talk on the subject of public transit and social equity at 7 p.m. in Kane Hall, Room 110. The lecture is free and is open to the public. A reception will follow.

Using an equal-protection lawsuit brought against the Los Angeles rail transit investment program as a case study, Wachs will examine competing ideas about the costs and beneficiaries of public transit. He will discuss what services should be provided by public transit, who should pay for them, and how issues of fairness and equity should be addressed.

“Public transit is heavily subsidized, and it is reasonable to ask what social purpose is being served by this subsidy,” explains Wachs, who is a professor of city & regional planning and of civil & environmental engineering. “What public purposes should transit attempt to serve, and who should pay the bills?”

The Evans lecture, an annual event of the UW civil engineering department, is designed to expose engineering students, professionals and the general public to important and timely engineering topics. The lecture is sponsored by the UW Graduate School and the Daniel L. and Irma Evans Endowment, established by Dan, Roger and Robert Evans in honor of their parents.

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For more information, contact Nancy Cudlipp of the UW civil engineering department at (206) 543-2390.

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