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Public transportation investment strategies will need to transform if trends toward increased multifamily housing, declines in driving and increasing public transportation usage continue over the long run, Fitch Ratings Inc. says.Citing U.S. Census Bureau data issued this week that showed a shift to more multifamily development in cities and public transportation usage at an all-time high, the global financial rating agency said that U.S. policymakers "must begin adapting their current decisions to meet these future needs," according to a press release. "In our view, the transportation needs of the next 50 years will be markedly different from those of the past 50 years," Fitch officials said. "If these trends persist and meaningful policy changes are not made, the risk to the public transportation system would have negative implications for the entire economy."As an example, the agency noted that such trends would mean toll roads could earn less money and therefore support less capacity for investment."In our view, stability for vital transportation backbones such as the interstate highway network is essential," Fitch officials stated. "While tolling is an important policy option, in some cases stability will require the public subsidies that are common in many other developed countries. The market has limited appetite for project risk when repayment is in question."
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