MIAMI (CBS4) — South Florida’s Tri-Rail system saw a jump in ridership of more than 10 percent in February as the price of gasoline spiked, according to a new report.

The American Public Transportation Association said that, and survey figures showing that people will increase usage of public transit as prices continue to climb at the pump, make the case for more investment in public transportation.

“We must make significant, long-term investments in public transportation, or we will leave our fellow Americans with limited travel options, or in many cases stranded without travel options. Public transit is the quickest way for people to beat high gas prices, if it is available,” APTA President William Millar said in a statement quoted Monday by The Hill Newspaper in Washington.

In addition to South Florida’s Tri-Rail, public train systems in Philadelphia and Oakland also saw large increases last month in ridership.

Tri-Rail’s inability in the past to draw enough riders to make it self-sustainable was one of the reasons Gov. Rick Scott cited Florida shouldn’t allow federal money to be used to build new speed rail systems in the state, arguing that eventually, the state would likely be left on the hook. The APTA report cited by the Hill said that if gas prices reach $4 a gallon, the number of trips taken on public transportation in the country will increase by 670 million.

The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.


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