As classical music piped through the audio system at the McDonald’s in downtown Seattle on a recent day, customers devoured hamburgers while sitting in maroon-colored seats and at tables bathed in warm colors.
Customers lined up at registers, exchanging cash and credit cards for an assortment of hamburgers, fries and drinks.
These days, many fast-food employees at large restaurants are hoping that more than just hamburgers, tacos, fried chicken and sandwiches will be exchanged across restaurant counters.
They are hoping that higher hourly wages will come their way so they won’t have to apply for nearly $7 billion in U.S. taxpayer assistance each year to offset what they say are wages too low to support themselves and their families.
See infographic, below right, in Just the Facts.
Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley announced last week that the median national wage for front-line fast-food workers is $8.69 per hour and that the $7 billion in taxpayer support amounts to a subsidy for a $200 billion industry.
Los Angeles was granted its anticipated funding for America Fast Forward, a project aiming to expedite construction of more extensive and functional public transportation systems. The project’s approval is a victory for both the people of Los Angeles and Mayor Villaraigosa, who has been supporting it for years.
America Fast Forward is a provision of a larger transportation bill approved by Congress in late June and signed into law by President Obama last week. The $100 billion package, which received rare bipartisan support, will reduce harmful emissions, fund the construction of mass transit projects in multiple cities and create thousands of jobs throughout the country.
That’s the good news. On the downside, the law — which hardly resembles earlier versions of the legislation — cuts funding for a number of important programs and puts off critical decisions by only providing monies through 2014.
L.A.’s program would initially be funded by the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA),