Friday, June 28, 2013

Don't expect urban planners to support free public transit

Public transit is a battleground in a war for the biosphere.

The mayor of Toronto let it slip, when upon election, he announced the "war on the car is over" and promptly canceled Transit City, a project to improve public transit that had been many years in planning and development.

The government of Brazil also made it plain that this is war when they brought out the riot police to defend a 10 cent fare hike.

Anyone who has been a public transit advocate for long has seen the outright hostility and secret maneuvers behind the scenes. Lou Gambaccini found the Carter administration secretly hostile to public transit.

Most people think that oil companies are awash with money and just greedy for more. This is not the case. Oil is on a knife edge. The cheap oil has peaked. Every day the mix is more expensive. To keep pace, more capital is needed. If investors realize that most of the valuation of oil companies is based on reserves that can never be used, they may panic and sell. On another front, many resources, such as water and sand for fracking are becoming more scarce and/or expensive. Eventually prices will not support production since their rise destroys demand.

This is not a matter of greed or morals. This is a war for survival, the oil industry vs the biosphere. We will either have a fair society that protects the biosphere, or we won't.

Anyone of high profile in a war is subject to attack. Transport experts and pundits must keep heads down. It is up to political activists to carry the day.

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