With gas prices spiking and home values tumbling, people who live in far out suburbs are being forced to rethink the way they live. Blueprint America — with NOW on PBS — travels to southern California where the infrastructure for public transit is limited, and long-haul commuters are facing desperate times.
NOW’s David Brancaccio introduces us to homeowners in Riverside, California, who face a daily 144-mile round-trip commute to their jobs in San Diego. Since gas prices have skyrocketed many Riverside residents find themselves making unexpected economic choices: do they pay for the gas to drive to work or do they
pay the monthly mortgage on their homes? Across the country, Brancaccio reports, exurban neighborhoods are suffering exceedingly high foreclosure rates. Brancaccio talks to local transportation experts about commuting solutions, many of whom applaud California’s new landmark legislation to control sprawl. Will California’s “Smart Growth” initiatives provide a model for the rest of the country? Who will pay for these programs and what do the presidential candidates have to say about federal involvement in transit infrastructure?
Back in the remote outer-suburbs, Brancaccio talks to the families struggling with expensive and arduous commutes. If busses and trains were available, would they take advantage? Their answers will surprise you.