“As many drivers struggle to cope with soaring fuel prices, working-class people like Ms. Lopez who commute long distances to their jobs are suffering the most. In many cases, they had moved far away from major metropolitan areas to be able to afford decent houses. Now, paradoxically, the cost of gas is making the distance prohibitively expensive.”
This is a real problem here in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania. We’ve been experiencing a booming housing market because we’re the first region of affordable housing to the west of the New York City metro region. Housing prices have nearly doubled in the past two years due to the number of middle-income folks who are moving here for the schools and real estate values but who still commute to their businesses in the City or north Jersey.
Just like the working class folks, these people are feeling the fuel cost pinch. A typical commute in our area is between an hour and an hour and a half. There are buses that run into Manhattan, but other than that there is no significant mass-transit infrastructure. (And folks here in the Lehigh Valley have for some un-known reason opposed the creation of passenger rail lines into NYC and Philly.)
All of this is directly effecting ministries like our Soup Kitchen which in addition to paying more money for food is seeing a larger number of working people show up to eat each day. (They need to find a way to cut their daily expenses so they can afford gas costs.) It’s also effecting the finances of congregations which are seeing the same dynamic – increased utility costs and decreased congregational giving.
(Via The New York Times.)