Saturday, April 6, 2013

Most Arguments Against Mass Transit Are Bunk

I was listening to The Great Real America Radio Hour featuring Greg Garrison the other day. And I guess a lot of people chickened out and didn't call in to talk about mass transit the other day when they had one of the Indy Connect people on. So they took to the radio waves today to vent their frustrations on this big government overreach that is probably going to end up in a study committee.

What I heard on the radio were arguments that I've heard a lot that I don't believe make a lot of sense. There was a lot of "how much of a subsidy will it need per ride?" and "Why doesn't private business pay for it?". The irony being is that a lot of these people were probably driving in their cars and on roads that aren't "paid for". Yes, there is a federal and state gasoline sales tax. But the money collected there isn't enough to pay for all the road and highway maintenance performed. Governments take out bonds or sell off assets or do privatization deals to make money to maintain brides and roads and pave sidewalks. This is not new.

There's all types of stuff the government does that doesn't turn a profit. But the theory behind government, on behalf of society, doing these things such as paving roads and providing police and fire protection and so on isn't just because we want government to burn our money for us. But because we believe that these services are worth paying for because it is part of making our society a place we want to live in and a place we want others to visit.

Now that isn't to say that the financial figures shouldn't be a concern. But critics should move away from the general "it costs money, a lot, so it is bad" argument and move on to specifics.


  1. I too disagree with some of the general arguments. It is the specifics where it gets ugly.

  2. I welcome a discussion of the pluses and minuses of any program, including transit, but it's hard to engage when the opening line is that those opposed to this year's transit bill aren't just wrong, we're ignorant, without a leg to stand on. Nuvo did the same thing last week - instead of defining the benefits and costs, Ashley Kimmel said "Naysayers Lack Credibility".

    So, throwing down, I consider the current plan to be racist, reminiscent of the Klan. The money that would be spent on rail lines to white suburbs would pay for a lot of healthcare for poor people. The result of diverting money from basic social and health services for the poor, toward the construction of rail lines to Zionsville/Fishers/etc, is the actuarial equivalent of rich white people hunting down poor black people with machine guns. The Indiana Klan never went away, it moved to Carmel.

    The plan was drawn up by wealthy white people from Hamilton County, with the purpose of using tax money to fund their dreams of sprawl.

    15% of the cost of mass transit is covered by fares. The 0.3% income tax is a starting point.

    The Urbanophile (Aaron Renn) is on record that rail transportation in Indy is a very dumb idea, because the population is too spread out.

    The Indy Connect plan lacks definition. Rail ? No rail ? Materials are brought up, then erased from their website. But included in the long range plan are the four very expensive rail lines.

    The plan creates another CIB-like secret cabal.

    It siphons off local taxes via TIF's, into the pockets of rich white developers.

    It pretends to help the poor when in fact it's designed to help the rich. Cause it was written by rich white Hamilton County Republicans.

    It's absolutely unconstitutional. Money for transportation has to be raised uniformly statewide, and HB 1011 only included Central Indiana counties. (The referendum was a sleazy and silly attempt to circumvent the constitution)

    The plan wastes money forever, that could be used to help poor people inside 465 get to work. Thus the plan is racist to its core.

    Why are Democrats so enamored of this plan that they question the sanity of anyone who opposes it ?

  3. I have no problem updating the bus service in Indianapolis but light rail from Noblesville to downtown makes zero economic sense. Light rail moves way to few people for the investment. I have friends in Chicago and Frisco and they use the bus service more then they use the rail lines. I would like to see undercover cops on the buses to make riding them a more safe and pleasant experience.


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