Benefits for Economic Development

Transit Fosters Business Development in the Commonwealth:
Public transportation is good for business. In addition to transporting customers and employees conveniently to community businesses, transit also attracts businesses and industries seeking to locate in Virginia because it provides access to a broader labor pool.

Read about:

  • Job Creation
  • Attracting and Sustaining Business Growth
  • Linking Rural and Urban Areas
  • Employee Benefits
  • Earning a Living
  • Transit is the “To” in Welfare To Work

Job Creation:
KPMG Peat Marwick found that since Washington, DC’s Metrorail’s first station opened in 1977, it has generated 90,000 additional jobs and $1.2 billion in additional Commonwealth tax revenues above the state contributions to Metrorail. The American Economics Group determined that the Greater Richmond Transit Company annually produces about $43 million in direct and indirect economic activity and 700 jobs in the Richmond region.

Attracting and Sustaining Business Growth:
As businesses and residential areas continue to grow in Northern Virginia, the Dulles Corridor has become a key area. The Corridor stretches from Tyson’s Corner to Dulles Airport, through Fairfax and Loudoun counties, with a rail system in the works. With a projected 56% increase in employment and 58% increase in population by 2020, there is a dire need for an efficient rail system linking the corridor. The high tech industries that are expanding along the corridor consider public transit a must-have. Metrorail stops and bus rapid transit along the corridor are essential to sustaining business and residential growth, attracting new business, and preserving and improving the quality of life.

In Hampton Roads, more than 75 percent of businesses considering relocation to the area ask about the availability of public transportation. When Gateway computer company relocated to Hampton Roads, they wanted Hampton Roads Transit (HRT) to guarantee a bus route to the plant. Today, Gateway is still growing in Hampton Roads, and requested that the route to the main plant be extended to serve the distribution warehouse in the area.

Linking Rural and Urban Areas:
In the rural areas surrounding Charlottesville, JAUNT and Charlottesville Area Transit  have collaborated with large and small businesses to improve transportation for their employees. CAT serves Charlottesville and portions of Albemarle County and provides free transfers from JAUNT.

Wintergreen resort has contracted with JAUNT to establish a van route for its employees. The resort pays for the operating costs and the employees pay a minimal roundtrip fare. In this mountainous, rural region, commuting costs are minimized when Wintergreen employees without cars can get to work and those with cars can avoid the expensive wear-and-tear on their vehicles.

Employee Benefits:
The Omni Hotel in the Charlottesville area attracts employees by offering Commuter Choice as part of its employee benefits package. Commuter Choice refers to federal tax incentives that permit employers to offer employees a tax-free benefit to commute to work by ridesharing or public transportation. JAUNT and Rideshare were instrumental in presenting this program to the Omni for their use. The Omni took the program nationwide to emphasize this employee benefit during its hiring process.

Earning a Living:
In the Northern Virginia/Washington, D.C. area, Metrorail boasts the second highest usage of public transit in the nation for getting to and from work, exceeded only by the New York City area. Loudoun Transit and the Rappahannock-Rapidan Regional Commission work together to operate the Job Access Mobility Van (the JAM Van) to get people to work on time in Culpeper and Fauquier Counties. The vans run during the busiest commuting times in the morning and evening, and seats are available by reservation. Culpeper has the newest JAM route and already boasts 400 rides per month. Loudoun Transit has also partnered with Loudoun United Way to extend bus service to Sunday afternoons to more closely match the retail communities’ hours of operation and thus increase job accessibility.

For ten years, the Greater Lynchburg Transit Company (GLTC) has worked closely with Lynchburg Sheltered Industries, which employs disabled individuals. When the company relocated away from an existing bus line, they were able to contract with GLTC to provide extra bus runs to their facility for over 100 employees. If these same disabled individuals were unable to work and support themselves, it would cost Virginia approximately $7,000 for each person in tax dollars to provide in-home support services annually.

Transit is the “To” in Welfare To Work:
In areas served by public transportation in Virginia, anywhere from one-third to more than 90 percent of the area’s welfare reform recipients depend upon it. In the Roanoke Valley, transit systems have teamed up to extend public transit into Roanoke County by connecting with existing Valley Metro routes. This “feeder service” is funded by the Job Access Reverse Commuter Program as part of state and federal welfare-to-work initiatives. In its first month, ridership skyrocketed from 36 riders to 600 riders.

In the rural and remote Eastern Shore, STAR Transit is working with the local social services department to move people from welfare to work. Five new bus routes have been established to get employees to key industries on the peninsula, such as Bay Shore Concrete, Perdue and Tyson poultry plants and the KMC Plant.