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Title: Can Transportation Strategies Help to Meet the Welfare Challenge?

Author(s): Wachs, Martin and Brian D. Taylor

Published: 1998 by Journal of the American Planning Association, 64(1): 15-17

Online Access: http://repositories.cdlib.org/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1000&context=uctc

Abstract: In 1995 nearly fourteen million Americans received welfare benefits, far too many in the eyes of the many critics of the program. Developed originally to allow widowed or divorced women to stay at home with their children, the 1996 federal welfare reform package aimed to do just the opposite. The many changes, including time limits for receiving benefits, seek to move recipients out of the home and into wage work. While inadequate access to employment clearly contributes to unstable work histories, poverty, and dependency on programs like Aid to Families with Dependent Children, it is by no means the only barrier to steady work for most welfare recipients. It is understandable that welfare reformers, economic development experts, and housing advocates turn to transportation policies as strategies for overcoming some of the enormous shortcomings in American urban policy. But transportation programs cannot compensate for failures in other policy areas precisely because transport is also a damaged part of our deeply flawed urban policy. The purpose of welfare was to eliminate poverty, but the purpose of welfare reform is to eliminate welfare. Transport cannot be expected to eliminate both welfare and poverty itself, but should be part of integrated economic development, housing, and educational program to address urban poverty rather than an afterthought to correct for omissions in other urban policies.

Category: Transportation Access and Equity      Transportation, Employment, and Poverty     

See other articles by the author(s): Brian D. Taylor Martin Wachs

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