US infrastructure

President Trump, Please Invest In Transit, Now

It's the only way America can be great in the future.


The full State of the Union Address can be viewed at this link.

In his recent State of the Union address, President Donald Trump spoke about the progress he has made under his administration and discussed his vision and plans for America's future. As part of this, he renewed his campaign promise to invest in and rebuild America's infrastructure, part of his overarching promise to "Make America Great Again." This was not surprising to me—Trump had made infrastructure renewal one of his key political positions ever since he started running for president. However, over the last two years, he has been all talk and no action on this promise. He needs to understand that if he wants to make our country greater, he must make infrastructure spending, especially spending on public transit, a priority of his administration.

On paper, Trump seems to be strongly pro-infrastructure and pro-transit. During his campaign, he expressed support for bringing high-speed rail to the US, despite opposition from fellow Republicans. He stated doing so would create jobs and boost the economy. Immediately after being elected president, he pledged in his victory speech to make America's transportation infrastructure "second to none" and "embark upon a project of national growth and renewal." Almost immediately after taking office, he labeled a number of public transit projects as high-priority, including the Texas Bullet Train, Phase II of NYC's Second Avenue Subway, and Amtrak's Gateway Project.

Phase 2 of NYC's Second Avenue Subway, labeled a high-priority infrastructure project by President Trump.

But these two years have been all talk and no action. None of the mass transit projects Trump listed as high priority are any closer to completion than they were at the beginning of his presidency. In particular, he has threatened to freeze funding for the Gateway Project, which will rebuild Amtrak and NJ Transit trackage between NYC and Jersey City. Amtrak trains depend on these tracks to travel between Washington DC and Boston, and NJ Transit commuter trains rely on them to transport millions of commuters between Manhattan and suburban New Jersey every day. The existing infrastructure is over a century old and is operating at crush load. But there is no end in sight for this transportation nightmare.

Trump has expressed skepticism towards the Gateway Project in the greater NYC area.

If President Trump truly cares about American lives, he should do all he can to solve America's transit crisis. America's public transportation network is old, dilapidated, and unable to meet the needs of the future. One of our nation's most critical rail lines is operating beyond capacity. Washington DC's Metro is crumbling after only 40 years in service. Many of our transportation hubs have not been renovated in decades. Countless bridges across our country are structurally deficient. One of our 50 largest cities has zero public transit, and even cities with public transit often have unreliable service and transit deserts. It is frankly embarrassing that a first world country has a third world transit system.

Much of America's transit infrastructure is aging and decaying.

In the 21st century, reliable public transportation is not a luxury—it's a necessity. As our population grows and resources become scarce, we must transition from private automobiles to efficient and sustainable public transportation. Although cars can go to more places than trains, they cannot move the masses efficiently and sustainably. They will not solve the problems of air pollution or global warming, whether human-operated or driverless. And they will certainly not make getting from point A to point B easier, especially with increased traffic congestion.

Investment in transit will give mobility and freedom to millions of people. And it works. Every dollar invested in transit generates $4 in economic benefits. The jobs we create by rejuvenating and building infrastructure will greatly reduce unemployment. Studies have shown that taking mass transit is not only environmentally friendly but also good for health. The benefits that public transportation will bring will make American workers productive, American cities clean, American industries sustainable, and the American economy thrive. Then America will not only be great, but greater than it has ever been.

We must invest in America's public transit infrastructure to make America great.

Popular Right Now

Austin Alexander Burridge, Volunteer Advocate, Shares 3 Great Reasons to Volunteer and Help Others

Austin Alexander Burridge is an avid academic who studies Environmental Science at Winona State University and believes that work in the service of others is a key pillar to personal development.


Sometimes it's easy for someone to adopt a "me, me, me" attitude. While focusing on oneself, a person may feel nice in the moment, but serving and helping others will bring lasting benefits. While there are many great reasons to serve and help others, there are three universal truths that resonate with volunteers around the globe.

Austin Alexander Burridge's 3 Reasons to Volunteer:

1. Accomplishment

Often, people fall into a trap of focusing on themselves when they are feeling down. Maybe someone did not get a job they wanted. Or perhaps a person gets dumped by an expected lifelong companion. Maybe someone feels they have underachieved after looking at Facebook and seeing great things a high school classmate has accomplished. When feeling down, helping others is a proven way to improve one's mood and attitude, and it can provide a sense of pride and accomplishment. The act of giving to those in need is an inherently good action and leaves people with a wonderful feeling of joy.

2. Gratitude

One can become more appreciative of life by serving others that have less. Whether volunteering at a soup kitchen, visiting the elderly at an assisted living center, or helping families after a natural disaster, service enables people to be grateful for what they have. Seeing people who have fewer advantages, especially those who are spirited and thankful for small things, allows one to realize just how fortunate he/she is in life.

3. Friendships

Volunteering is a great way to build meaningful friendships, not only with other volunteers but also with those who are served. One of the most profound and fascinating aspects of these relationships is how volunteers will learn from those served and vice versa. As these special bonds are built, they lead to impactful connections that last for years to come.

Of course, these are just a few reasons to volunteer and serve others. One can never go wrong by helping others as opposed to merely focusing on oneself. Volunteering invariably and inevitably contributes to personal growth, development, and satisfaction.

About Austin Alexander Burridge: Helping others has been of paramount importance to Austin, and as a part of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), Austin gave back to the community around him. He also has participated in annual peanut butter drives, The Minnesota Sandwich Project for the Homeless and collected canned goods for local food shelters. Additionally, Austin has a passion for the environment, which he pursued when visiting the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, and the Amazon Rain Forest while studying at the School of Environment Studies, which investigates ecological systems and their sustainability

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Terrors Behind "Toddlers & Tiaras" - Beauty Pageants Need To Go!

Why Honey Boo Boo is not the girl we should be idolizing...


Honey Boo Boo is famous for her extravagant persona, extreme temper tantrums, overwhelming attitude, and intense sassiness. All of these qualities are shared by many other young girls who participate in beauty pageants - not just in "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" but also in TLC's notorious "Toddlers & Tiaras," a show that depicts the horrors of little girls who have dedicated their childhood to winning the crown.

These shows, and the pageants they glorify do nothing but force girls to grow up too quickly, send negative messages to viewers and participants and pose health risks for the girls involved.

Therefore, beauty pageants for young girls should be abolished.

The hypersexualization that takes place in these pageants is staggering. Not only are young girls' minds molded into having a superficial view on beauty, but they are also waxed, spray-tanned, given wigs, retouched in pictures, injected with Botox and fillers, and painted with fake abs and even breasts.

Sexy is the goal, not cute. Girls of ages 2-12 wear skimpy clothing, accentuating only their underdeveloped bodies. A 4-year-old girl on "Toddlers and Tiaras" once impersonated Dolly Parton with fake breasts, another dressed as Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman (so basically, a prostitute), and another even pretended to smoke a cigarette to look like Sandy from Grease.

In Venezuela, people are so obsessed with pageants that they send their daughters to "Miss Factories," to train them to win. At these factories, underage girls undergo plastic surgery and hormone therapy to delay puberty in attempts to grow taller. In addition, they often get mesh sewn onto their tongues so that they are physically incapable of eating solid food. This idea of taking horrific measures to look slimmer is not unique to Venezuela. A former Miss USA explained that she would "slather on hemorrhoid ointment, wrap herself up with Saran wrap, and run on a treadmill with an incline for 30 minutes to tighten her skin and waist up." Many countries, including France and Israel have banned child beauty pageants because it is "hypersexualizing." Why has the US yet to follow in their footsteps?

Additionally, the pageants strip their young contestants of a childhood by basically putting them through harsh child labor. Oftentimes, girls as young as 18 months old participate in pageants. There is no way that a girl under 2 years old has the capacity to decide for herself that she wants to participate in a beauty pageant. Not to mention, education often takes a backseat in pageant girls' lives as long practice sessions interfere with sleep and homework. This causes long-term distress for the contestants, including widespread unemployment for former pageant girls.

Moreover, these pageants tie self-worth and self-esteem to attractiveness. They teach girls that natural beauty and intelligence are not enough, when in actuality they should be doing the opposite. In fact, 72% of pageant girls hire coaches to train girls to be more "attractive."

Finally, these pageants pose potent health risks for the girls competing. Not only do intense rehearsals interfere with their sleep cycles, but they are also impacted by the harmful methods taken to keep them awake. One example is Honey Boo Boo's "go go juice" - AKA a mixture of Mountain Dew and Red Bull. She is known for drinking this continuously throughout pageant days to stay awake and energetic - but the health risks associated with the drinks, let alone for such a young girl, are completely ignored.

And, the future health problems associated with pageantry cannot be looked past. Participating in beauty pageants as kids leads to eating disorders, perfectionism, depression - in fact, at least 6% suffer from depression while competing. "The Princess Syndrome," as Psychology Today calls it relates to a small study published in 2005 that showed that former childhood beauty pageant contestants had higher rates of body dissatisfaction. This sense of dissatisfaction can so easily be translated to more severe mental and physical health issues, including depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. The average BMI (Body Mass Index) of a Beauty Contestant in the US in 1930 was 20.8, which is universally in the middle of the "healthy" range. In 2010, it was 16.9, which is considered underweight for anyone.

So, despite the entertainment these shows and pageants provide, they should most definitely be stopped due to the immense amount of issues they cause for those involved and those who watch.

Although Honey Boo Boo is (sadly) considered one of America's sweethearts, her experience in pageantry has certainly not been a positive influence in her life nor in the lives of her fans - and this is the case for nearly all young pageant girls.

Related Content

Facebook Comments