Free public ground transportation. Suppose we taxed ourselves and picked up the fares for all mass transit, freight and people, traveling on the ground. Suppose we set standards for efficiency and environmental impact, standards that today’s trains and buses could meet, but standards that would become more stringent from year to year. Free trips anywhere in the USA for anybody riding or shipping by qualified conveyance.
Instead of upping subway fares, New York City would scrap them altogether. Goodbye, turnstiles. Good-bye, fare machines. Get on and go. Cars would stay in the driveway. Trucks would disappear from the roads, at least for long hauls. At half-a-buck a mile by car, people would get on board the trains and buses in millions. The skies would clear, of airplanes and of pollutants. Commerce would benefit. In fact, new kinds of commerce would arise just because of the increase in social travel, as opposed to isolation motoring and the attendant road rage we enjoy now. The pressures of social disequilibrium–resulting from such forces as immigration, natural disaster, unemployment–would be reduced, as displaced people were empowered to go where the work is, ride with the rest of us, and go back home when it pleased them to do so. Holders of airline, fuel and automotive assets would suffer. Tough. Too expensive, you say? What’s expensive is each one of us pushing a ton of steel around to get from place to place. Fournier for Congress