Everyone, especially politicians and policy makers, says “we should invest in our children because they are the future,” especially during budget season. The investments that come to mind usually include improving and expanding educational opportunities, expanding access to the arts and sports and helping teenagers get jobs.
But what people don’t often think about is how these young people are going to get to school, extracurricular activities and jobs or internships.
In Spring 2018, UC Davis’ Center for Regional Change conducted a survey of students at Will C. Wood Middle School, Hiram Johnson High School and Health Professions High School. It found that 25 percent of students reported missing at least one day of school, and more than 60 percent reported being tardy at least once in the previous month, due to transportation-related issues.
The city of Sacramento, in partnership with Sacramento Regional Transit District and our local school districts, has an opportunity to implement a high-impact strategic policy that removes one of the major barriers upon which youth rely: public transportation. The city and SacRT are poised to offer all youth in grades K-12, who live and/or go to school within the city’s limits, the ability to use public transportation for free at any time of day, any day of the week, and year-round. The City Council will vote on this initiative as part of its budget deliberation process over the next 30 days.
It’s a win-win-win-win-win situation. How?