Thursday, May 07, 2009

Why conservatives should love transit, and more

A few links to interesting reading: A piece on "Why Conservatives Should Care About Transit," here.
One provocative excerpt: "Support for government-subsidized highway projects and contempt for efficient mass transit does not follow from any of the core principles of social conservatism.
A common misperception is that the current American state of auto-dependency is a result of the free market doing its work. In fact, a variety of government interventions ensure that the transportation 'market' is skewed towards car-ownership."

A wonderful profile of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood by the NY Times' inimitable Mark Leibovich here.
Here's a closer look at the new state of Virginia standards that won't put state highway money into developments that don't meet a connectivity index. The article is from New Urban News, and it criticizes VaDOT for not being aggressive enough with its connectivity standards.
It also references the study done in Charlotte by CDOT and Fire Department staff that found more cost-efficiency for emergency services in connected neighborhoods than in cul-de-sac-collector neighborhoods. Here's a link to where I wrote about it, and here's a link to a slide show about the study itself.

(Note, Delaware is doing something akin to Virginia. The New Urban News main web site says: Delaware mandates connected streets The Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT), which has jurisdiction over most streets and roads in its state, is — like Virginia — requiring that new subdivision streets be connected to neighboring areas.

From the Colorado-based High Country News, a piece on the possible end of Exurbia, at least in the West.

A word about that story: I've read several pieces in recent months in which people say suburbia is on its last gasps, and the recession will kill it. I'm skeptical. Among other reasons: At least in my neck of suburbia (Charlotte), financial stress means people are less mobile than before – they can't sell their houses, or find jobs to move to. Thus, they are not leaving exurbia even if the want to. In addition, housing in the far 'burbs is still, dirt for dirt, cheaper than in the city (vast exurban McMansions and uptown luxury condos notwithstanding.

Many "Death of Suburbia" themes are premised on the assumption energy prices will rise. I believe they will, and savings from cheap housing will be undercut by the gasoline prices needed for long commutes to work and shopping. But for now gas prices seem to have stabilized. Further, local governments around here – and I suspect elsewhere – are in no mood to crack down on any kind of development, there being, for now, virtually none going on.

72 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Government enterprise is an oxymoron. The words 'government' and 'enterprise' should never be used in the same sentence" Gregory Bresiger

Anonymous said...

Why Liberals should be for lower taxes and more? That would be a good blog, Mary.

Anonymous said...

"Government doesn't work. That's the first lesson we must learn if we want to improve society" Harry Browne

Anonymous said...

The conservative think tanker Paul Weyrich was in favor of public transit for exactly these reasons.

But he couldn't dumb down his thinking so it could be spewed on talk radio or put down on bumper sticker.

Anonymous said...

I think gov't should run everything. Then I won't have to worry about anything.

Anonymous said...

TAXATION IS THEFT!

Anonymous said...

It’s high time federal government enacted tax breaks to skew things toward public transit, and not just by changing the approval rules or providing incentives to businesses.

At the individual level, many of us get to deduct mortgage interest, certain home equity debt interest, and mortgage insurance premiums as the government continues to “skew us” for ownership of the most expensive, interest intensive, prone-to-foreclosure housing we cannot afford.

Automobile-wise, we get to deduct property tax on our automobiles and can choose the greater of state income tax or sales tax paid on Schedule A, or maybe qualify for a tax credit on the purchase of an electric or hybrid car. And of course don’t forget those idiotic rules that encouraged businesspersons to take huge tax write-offs on those Escalades and Hummers.

So how about a individual tax credit for use of public transportation? Wouldn’t that encourage ridership, and in turn encourage new rail construction? (Save those Lynx tickets as proof for the IRS?)

Since our tax structure requires equilibrium - we have to counter each new tax break with the loss of an exsiting one to ensure we can pay for those Middle East wars - just do away with the property tax deduction on cars, boats and travel trailers.

Anonymous said...

Mary I just lost my job. Can I move in with you until I land on my feet? I have read you blog for years and you seem so compassionate towards others.

Anonymous said...

PLEASE RAISE MY TAXES I DON'T PAY ENOUGH TO THE KING!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Mary, since you answer a comment about the word "czar", is it reasonable to ask why you have NEVER - not once - answered a comment asking how you propose to PAY for any of your proposals?

The US is $12 trillion in debt, Obama's budget plan adds another $10 trillion through 2019, plus the feds have backstopped another $10.4 trillion and there are $53 trillion (minimum) in unfunded future liabilities.

I will leave it to you to do the math to figure out what each US household's share of those debts is. And then I will ask you:

Where is the money going to come from? This is a far more serious issue than the use of the word "czar", and I hope you'll agree it deserves your attention.

Where is the money going to come from?

I WILL KEEP ASKING UNTIL YOU ANSWER.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Are you getting the picture?
answer the question

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Anon 232: Paul Weyrich is NOT a conservative. STOP LYING

Anonymous said...

So the founder of the Heritage Foundation was not a conservative? Interesting

Greg said...

^ wow. what an impressively persuasive tactic you've employed there, anon. the high level of thought from these comments is astounding! "HES GUNNA TAKE 'R GUNS!!!"

Anonymous said...

5:46 - your comment is the first to mention guns. care to explain your off-topic tangent?

Anonymous said...

TAXATION IS SLAVERY.

Anonymous said...

Mary, since you answer a comment about the word "czar", is it reasonable to ask why you have NEVER - not once - answered a comment asking how you propose to PAY for any of your proposals?

The US is $12 trillion in debt, Obama's budget plan adds another $10 trillion through 2019, plus the feds have backstopped another $10.4 trillion and there are $53 trillion (minimum) in unfunded future liabilities.

I will leave it to you to do the math to figure out what each US household's share of those debts is. And then I will ask you:

Where is the money going to come from? This is a far more serious issue than the use of the word "czar", and I hope you'll agree it deserves your attention.

Where is the money going to come from?

I WILL KEEP ASKING UNTIL YOU ANSWER.

Anonymous said...

Mary, since you answer a comment about the word "czar", is it reasonable to ask why you have NEVER - not once - answered a comment asking how you propose to PAY for any of your proposals?

The US is $12 trillion in debt, Obama's budget plan adds another $10 trillion through 2019, plus the feds have backstopped another $10.4 trillion and there are $53 trillion (minimum) in unfunded future liabilities.

I will leave it to you to do the math to figure out what each US household's share of those debts is. And then I will ask you:

Where is the money going to come from? This is a far more serious issue than the use of the word "czar", and I hope you'll agree it deserves your attention.

Where is the money going to come from?

I WILL KEEP ASKING UNTIL YOU ANSWER.

Anonymous said...

Mary, since you answer a comment about the word "czar", is it reasonable to ask why you have NEVER - not once - answered a comment asking how you propose to PAY for any of your proposals?

The US is $12 trillion in debt, Obama's budget plan adds another $10 trillion through 2019, plus the feds have backstopped another $10.4 trillion and there are $53 trillion (minimum) in unfunded future liabilities.

I will leave it to you to do the math to figure out what each US household's share of those debts is. And then I will ask you:

Where is the money going to come from? This is a far more serious issue than the use of the word "czar", and I hope you'll agree it deserves your attention.

Where is the money going to come from?

I WILL KEEP ASKING UNTIL YOU ANSWER.

Anonymous said...

Mary, since you answer a comment about the word "czar", is it reasonable to ask why you have NEVER - not once - answered a comment asking how you propose to PAY for any of your proposals?

The US is $12 trillion in debt, Obama's budget plan adds another $10 trillion through 2019, plus the feds have backstopped another $10.4 trillion and there are $53 trillion (minimum) in unfunded future liabilities.

I will leave it to you to do the math to figure out what each US household's share of those debts is. And then I will ask you:

Where is the money going to come from? This is a far more serious issue than the use of the word "czar", and I hope you'll agree it deserves your attention.

Where is the money going to come from?

I WILL KEEP ASKING UNTIL YOU ANSWER.

Anonymous said...

Mary, since you answer a comment about the word "czar", is it reasonable to ask why you have NEVER - not once - answered a comment asking how you propose to PAY for any of your proposals?

The US is $12 trillion in debt, Obama's budget plan adds another $10 trillion through 2019, plus the feds have backstopped another $10.4 trillion and there are $53 trillion (minimum) in unfunded future liabilities.

I will leave it to you to do the math to figure out what each US household's share of those debts is. And then I will ask you:

Where is the money going to come from? This is a far more serious issue than the use of the word "czar", and I hope you'll agree it deserves your attention.

Where is the money going to come from?

I WILL KEEP ASKING UNTIL YOU ANSWER.

Czar Jack II said...

Anon from just above:

Here's an idea: Start a campaign to get Mary appointed Secretary of the Treasury. Then I can see why she should tell you where the money is coming from.

Until then, get a life, use your brain and use Google to learn how to contact the current Secretary,or maybe even the head of the IRS, whose job it is to tell you "where the money will come from".

Oh, while we're waiting, can I ask you why the sky is blue? Surely you will know that answer. Right?

Anonymous said...

Anon at 07:42 and ad nauseum:

Why is the sky blue? What causeD the Big Bang?

I WILL KEEP ASKING UNTIL YOU ANSWER.

Anonymous said...

Easy Tiger. I agree Mary loves to advocate spending taxpayer money and NEVER EVER TALKS ABOUT WAYS TO CUT SPENDING IN GOVERNMENT!

Anonymous said...

I tell you where the money is coming from. One it is stolen from the productive class. Secondly it is being printed out of thin air.

Anonymous said...

Mary, at the very least write a blog about balancing the federal and state budget's. This is not a right or left issue. It's just commen sense.

Anonymous said...

The national debt is currently about $11,230,986,457,444.74.

The current population of the United States is around 306,140,570.

That's about $36,685.72 per person.

Big frigging deal. I bet most of you anti-tax, anti government-spending troglodytes spent or are spending that much on your gas-guzzling, smog-producing, freeway-clogging, accident-causing SUV.

Where will we get the money? From those who have more of it than they know what to do with.

Yeaaaaaaaaah!!!

Anonymous said...

ANON 8:40 COME AND GET IT. I LIKE TO SEE YOU TRY! YOU APPEAR TO BE OVERCOME WITH ENVY. HERE'S A CLUE WORK HARD AND SAVE.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 08:51:

No one said they were coming after you. Since you spend so much time here I doubt you even have a job, much as less one that anyone would be envious of.

I think Obama's right. Raise the tax on the highest brackets. That doesn't effect the honest entrepreneur, or even Joe the Plumber, or probably even you. The ones most impacted will be those "hard-working" professional athletes, who make $30million for playing schoolyard games. Or the low-lifes who buy lottery tickets and suddenly have $80 million.

It's not that I don't envy them. I do. But I think our nation's obsession with mass marketing and advertising as the means for allocating most dollars to a few persons, leaves a lot to be desired.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:25 Live and let live. Why worry about how other people conduct their life. Who cares if some people have alot of money? I believe in freedom and liberty. I don't want other's telling me what I can and cannot do.

Anonymous said...

Mary, Can I at least sleep in your back yard? I lost my job and my house is being forclosed on? Please help?

Mary said...

Schaengold is confusing because he mixes "Free Market" with "Social Conservatism." One argument is that the free market's influence of transportation has been thwarted and needs to be corrected, the different one is that social conservatism needs public transportation. I agree with the first and disagree with the second.

Anonymous said...

"Daily experience proves clearly to everybody but the most bigoted fanatics of soclialism that govermental management is inefficient and wasteful" Ludwig Von Mises

barkomomma said...

Bang, bang, bang. Keep beating the drum, Mary. Someone will follow you (but it won't be me!).

Anonymous said...

"God gave me a brain so I came reply intelligently to blogs like this with my own thoughts, but the Devil keeps making me quote others and use their thoughts!" - Lilly von Shtupp.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 09:32:

You need to find a little island where you can live alone and not interact with, or be effected by, other human beings. That's about the only way you'll be able to live and let live, and not have someone telling you what you can or cannot do.

But about the time the lumber company decides they will invade and harvest the island's trees, or some developer wants to build a high-rise in your backyard, that will be the time you wish you had a tax-funded, tax-spending government to go crying to for help.

Good Luck with anarchy!

Anonymous said...

Anon at 08:31 on May 7 said: "I tell you where the money is coming from. One it is stolen from the productive class. Secondly it is being printed out of thin air."

I didn't know that Ken Lewis and others in that tax bracket are in the "productive class". Somehow I think they're in the class that makes all the decisions that screw up the economy and the lives of the productive class over which they ride rough shod.

Raise the taxes on the fat overseers and reduce it on the worker bees.

Anonymous said...

Conservatives do not like transit because of the ROI.

For ~$700million dollars for the train to serve~ 7,000 people daily.

Not a very wise use of taxpayer dollars.

Roads move more of the population/goods/services at a better prices.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 10:55 -

They said just about the same thing back in the 1920s when the whole nation had cheap inter-urban electric rail car connectivity, but people started using autos more frequently. Just substitute the word "cars" where you used the word "train". What goes around come around.

Today mainstream America is tired of the pollution, the dwindling supply of fossil fuel, and the concrete that coveres millions of acres of otherwise arable land.

Get with the program.

Anonymous said...

"The Naked City": Where the losers (i.e. Conservatives) come to spit out their sour grapes.

Don't any of you have and constructive ideas about how to salvage what's left of the nation the Cheneyites almost destroyed? (That is, besides the idea of spending billions to fight unwinnable overseas wars? I'd sure like to have seen that money spent on America.)

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Over $864 billion in war reparations spent during the Conservative Bush administration. About 4,000 U. S. military deaths.
No victory in sight.

How do you like the ROI on that?

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Bush was not conservative.

$864 billion and we haven't been attacked in 8 years and only 4,000 deaths. Not bad compared to ALL other wars.

Trying to compare the 20's traffic problems with today is idiotic.

Better ROI IMHO than the train debacle.

Anonymous said...

"Let's see how far you'll get with no gas in that SUV."

5/08/2009 11:38:00 AM

If there is no gas, no cars will be going anywhere. SUV or not.
Get a clue.

Anonymous said...

11:38 - Time and place.

Love & kisses,
11:30

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

"Capitalism has been the liberator of mankind" Richard M. Ebeling

Anonymous said...

The only way to salvage this nation is for Americans to stand up against the statist, which means bearing more responsiblity for their decisions. The founding fathers warned us about a centralized gov't and they were right.

Anonymous said...

Don't blame me I voted for RON PAUL.

Anonymous said...

I'm tired of the leftist propaganda polluting this country.

Anonymous said...

Mary, Can I at the very least set up a tent in your backyard? It's nice to know that you have so much compassion for your fellow man. It's people like you that make this community a better place. Thanks again for helping me in this difficult situtaion. Without your assistance I may have to live on the streets.

Anonymous said...

Just in on the Cable TV News:

Three of the four cars involved in tonight's traffic-snarling, injury-ridden accident on I-77 were SUV's.

You don't have to worry about me coming for you. The wreckers and tow trucks will get you.

Anonymous said...

I'm tired of the right-wing national-socialist conservative B. S. polluting this country.

Anonymous said...

The dudes who pulled the pupper George W. Bush's strings certainly were conservative.

And $864 million - $900 by the time the conservatives got booted from the White House, is almost a trillion!

What a waste. Thousands of young Americans dead. Tens of thousands of civilians dead.

"Mission Accomplished"??????????

Anonymous said...

Mary, we Conservatives don't want changes.

Please don't suggest any new programs. Don't offer any ideas or solutions to current problems. All that does is cause our teeny little brains to hurt.

We've got ours. We don't care if you get yours.

Please turn back that clock, NOW!

Rick said...

Until all you pro-transit types start protesting the favorable treatment that the UAW is receiving in these ridiculous auto bailouts which keeps a failed US auto industry on life-support, you're just whining.

By the way Mary, why aren't you blasting the democrats who are keeping you from getting your extra 1/2 cent of transit tax? Votes have been put off at least 3 times between city council and the county commission because the liberal democrats aren't committing to it.

You guys have the majorities in everything, but still can't easily ram through what you want. Yet, for some reason you try to blame that weakness on conservatives.

Me thinks that shows how truly weak your position turns out to be.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:01 I think you are the one that has backward thinking. All this gov't intervention has been done before throughout history with very little success. It's amazing how little history the leftist or statist have ever studied. The great leftist countries Russia, Cuba, Venezuala, and list goes on and on.

Anonymous said...

Lefty's get upset when you challenge them to a debate....Oh poor little lefty,

Anonymous said...

Great leftist leaders Mao, Stalin, Lenin, Castro, and Chavez. Enough said!

Anonymous said...

Mary, Please only offer solutions that can be performed by a government bureaucracy.

Anonymous said...

I sure hope most of these moronic responses are coming from far, far outside the Charlotte area. From a land where brothers sleep with their sisters.

I can only hope.

Anon 5/07/2009 02:43:00 PM
You nailed it perfectly. Get rid of the auto tax and personal property tax write offs and replace it with a cost of transit ticket write off. These Neanderthals need to be forced into doing the right thing. That's what good government is all about. Herding the sheep who have strayed away down the incorrect path.

Too bad we just went through 8 years of bad government.

Anonymous said...

I see as usual Rick is still a Dick.

Anonymous said...

We went thru 8 years of back gov't to 4 more years of really bad governemnt. We are screwed!!!!!

Jay Heikes said...

Just something to think about:
yes the Light rail is heavily subsidized, no getting around that.

Want to know what else is subsidized? Every aspect of suburban living. Want to know who pays for the water and sewer lines so developers can build new starter houses that end up in forclosure? We do. Who pays for the roads that go to those neighborhoods to be repaved and the widened 15 years after the fact? We do. Who pays for the new schools to accomodate all the kids from the new neighborhoods? We do. Who pays for expanded police and fire coverage to new neighborhoods built out in the middle of nowhere? We do. So if you want transit to pay its share, fine; but lets make developers (and thus hombuyers) pay their share too.

Rick said...

Mr Heikes, totally agree with you. Let's do this...

Raise the fares to cover the full cost, operating + debt service for transit. That would mean the average fare with no discounted trips or free tranfers would be around $4 dollars a trip for buses and rail.

Then put a moritorium on new development in Mecklenburg County. Don't approve a single new development that's not within a 5-mile radius of center city. Also, don't ship any children to any other school than their neighborhood school.

Then watch as the following happens...

Mecklenburg county's population growth stalls as nobody wants to live in the areas you allow development. The sprawl you hate worsens as people move to outlying counties. Nobody rides the bus or train anymore. Finally, we all get our wish, no congestion.

I think you have a wonerful idea.

Dave said...

Why wouldn't people want to live in tighter communities? Why not give them that option? Suburban sprawl only continues because it's the only thing readily available and thus affordable for most people. If they were given other options, then we might see a much different pattern of urban growth.

Your other argument suggests that people will simply move to other outlying counties to maintain their suburban bliss, and by that alleviating Meck co's congestion and need for a mass transit system. a denser charlotte would certainly still utilize mass transit and most likely become a model for the rest of the region in sustainable growth as the wasteful, placeless, sprawl around it falls out of favor and practicality.