Tuesday, December 1, 2009

U.S. going wrong way faster and faster

There are two tracks the U.S. could pursue:

1. Fight for control of fossil-fuel sources and transport routes, maximize profit, and hope for a technological miracle to save the biosphere from overheating.

2. Cut back. Invest in public transit. End sprawl.

Unfortunately the first has been chosen. It will lead to the demise of the U.S. empire, but not in time to save the biosphere. Only an international mass movement can turn this ship around.


Lisa said...

I fully support this effort! Lack of public transit has impoverished far more Americans than has lack of health insurance. At least there is (has been) some funding for health care for low-income people. But people cannot get to work in the US unless they can afford to own and operate a car!

I also think it is likely we have been deprived of public transportation in the US in order to keep us from organizing...

Bob Davis said...

The idea of providing minimal public transit "to keep us from organizing" plays into a school of thought I heard many years ago. According to adherents of these beliefs, the "establishment", by such efforts as FHA and VA loans to encourage suburban housing developments, and mass production of autos were secretly planned to scatter the working class and keep them busy tending to houses, yards and cars, thus prevent them from gathering in groups where "radical agitators" can stir them up.

Simba said...

I wish I could show my proposal for the new PATH rail system that I had created in an Urban Planning class at Rutgers. (to link Middlesex County to Staten Island New York)
You're absolutely right, NJ Transit and MTA are going broke and cutting service because their funding from the states is practically nil, unlike in Connecticut.
Too many people are complaining about their taxes going up to fund mass transit projects. They don't ride the transit because (1) they're too lazy to walk a few hundred feet (2) there's not enough frequency in service to satisfy their schedule and (3) they often have to make multiple transfers, some of which take them entirely out of their way.
We need to get more trains running in these urban areas, starting with the thickest and most transit lacking areas.
People think there's really no call for a rail line between any two cities. "You're gonna build mass transit where nobody is gonna ride it"
News flash: You don't wait until there is a call for it, because by then it's too late, and you need to either knock down houses and buildings, or build the tracks underground. When there is adequate service, the developers will see dollar signs and ridership will go up.
I know what is feels like to have no car and to rely on public transit where service is highly inadequate.
Not only that, but some people were just not meant to drive (according to insurance companies), but that doesn't mean that they shouldn't be able to get around from place to place.
Putting more buses on the road is not the answer, they burn oil just like cars, can get stuck in traffic making them unreliable during rush hours, and are not easily handicap accessible.
One of the dumbest things I once heard someone say was that by building rail transit, we're using a 19th century solution for a 21st century problem. Come on, I think construction workers are just too lazy to build train tracks, bridges and tunnels, and that people don't wanna spend the money to build the tracks because of the recession. Another News flash: the construction of the subways in New York and other cities actually helped us get out of the great depression because it created jobs for people.