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Reconnecting America is co-publishing the book Moving Minds: Conservatives and Transit, a collection of studies by renown conservative transit advocates Paul Weyrich and William Lind. Weyrich, who in 1977 founded the Free Congress Foundation, a conservative Washington, DC, think tank that focused on grassroots political organizing, died this past year. The studies that he and Lind did on public transportation helped conservatives understand why transit should be an essential part of the conservative agenda: because it enhances national security, promotes economic development, helps maintain conservative values including a sense of community, and provides welfare recipients with access to jobs.

Weyrich and Lind have always contended that the way to enlist conservative support for public transportation is to talk about it in terms that conservatives can appreciate. These studies are essential reading for all who need to build bipartisan support for transit – a critical endeavor as Congress considers reauthorizing the federal transportation bill that provides hundreds of billions of dollars for transportation over the next six years.

The studies were published between 1997 and 2009 in booklet form by the American Public Transportation Association, and include a previously unpublished report on the activities of the National Surface Transportation Commission, appointed by Congress in 2005 to examine the infrastructure needs of this country. Weyrich served on the commission and wrote language that strongly supported public transportation for the commission’s final report. That language, which had been adopted on a 9-3 vote, was excised from the final report but is reprinted here. It advocates, among other things, that we need a National Defense Public Transportation Act, much like President Eisenhower’s National Defense Interstate Highway Act.

The book includes the studies listed below:

  • Conservatives and Mass Transit: Is It Time for a New Look?
  • Does Transit Work? A Conservative Reappraisal
  • Twelve Anti-Transit Myths: A Conservcative Critique
  • Bring Back the Streetcars! A Conservative Vision of Tomorrow’s Urban Transportation
  • How Transit Benefits People Who Do Not Ride It: A Conservative Inquiry
  • Winning Transit Referenda: Some Conservative Advice
  • A National Defense Public Transportation Act: A Conservative Proposal for Energy Independence
  • Good Urban Transit: A Conservative Model
  • The (Unexpurgated) Report of the National Surface Transportation Commission: A Conservative Analysis

The book is available from Amazon.