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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Study Links Hirability To Mobility

WASHINGTON -- Everyone agrees the poor should get off welfare and go to work. But how do the poor get to work, since they live mostly in cities and the new jobs are mostly in the suburbs?

The solution: Government should help the poor buy cars, say Margy Waller and Mark Alan Hughes in a newly released study sponsored by the Progressive Policy Institute and Public/Private Ventures, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit.

Government policy-makers love public transportation but have a "blind spot'' when it comes to cars, Hughes and Waller argue. That's too bad, because mass transit offers the poor little more than a "ticket to nowhere'' - buses and subway lines often don't go to the suburbs, and extending mass transit to the suburbs often means sacrificing needed service in the city. Public transportation also gobbles up tax dollars; fares rarely cover even half the actual cost of a bus or subway ride, they claim.

States should change current welfare laws that penalize the poor if they own a car. They also urge that federal and state money be used to help the poor buy automobiles. Some states already use tax dollars to help the poor get auto insurance, obtain their driver's licenses and pay for car repairs and traffic fines.