Monday, December 27, 2010

U.S. not ready for rail projects

With a few exceptions, rail projects in the U.S. are premature. They consign the advocates to a spaghetti plate of conflicting interests, and open them to the charge of "picking winners and losers" in the market.

The auto and sprawl have critical mass. It took a hundred years and trillions of dollars of subsidy. It cannot be reversed without some economic thinking.

Do not superimpose rail on autosprawl. First, end autosprawl subsidy. The most harmful subsidy is the hobbling of public transit. Local public transit has been kept in disarray by the following intentional, purposeful devices:

  • the charging of fares
  • mismanagement
  • uneven funding
  • unpredictable service
  • infrequent service
  • arbitrary service cuts

Remove those fares first. Fare-free local transit will increase ridership and lead to demands for decent service. This will eventually break the critical mass of the autosprawl system.

Otherwise you will spend all your political capital getting a rail project done, only to find it declared a boondoggle and used as a reason to cut public transit.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Part II – Exposé | The 2º Death Dance – The 1º Cover-up « From the NonProfit Industrial Complex with Love

Part II – Exposé | The 2º Death Dance – The 1º Cover-up « From the NonProfit Industrial Complex with Love: "Those who have succumbed now hold hands in a circle and taunt the very planet that gives us life. The ugly side of humanity continues to violently pierce our Earth Mother with drills and slash her beautiful skin with razors. She is losing breath. She is dying. Yet, when she lashes back, it will be with an Armageddon deathblow against which our own actions will resemble childish prattle. And perhaps not until this time will global society finally recognize that our shared purpose was not to compete with one another and claim dominance and superiority over our Earth Mother – but rather our role was to protect, defend and nurture."

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Cars are eating your lunch

Fuel Vs. Food: Ethanol Helps Boost Meat Prices : NPR: "The U.S. corn crop is enormous. But about a third of it doesn't go to cereal or cows — instead, it helps run your car. To boost our use of renewable fuels, the federal government subsidizes corn-based ethanol."

Monday, December 13, 2010

Oil companies, feeling the heat of transit demand -- direct their trolls to cut service

The one thing that scares the oil and auto companies more than anything is local public transit ridership. They are terrified that ridership will increase, which will lead to demands for more and better service. This could eventually reach a tipping point at which local public transit would be a viable option and the subsidies for the auto system would be exposed to the light of day and be shown to be the albatross on the back of the economy that they are. Through the ballot box and opinion polls, the people have consistently asserted their desire for more transport options, even to the point of higher taxes to get them.

There is a quiet war going on as the oil-company-funded trolls redirect funds, dissemble, and obfuscate on the local and national level to derail local public transit by any means necessary. They are proposing every thing possible to maintain the critical mass of the private auto as the only viable public transport system.

Public transit advocates: we need to bring the truth out into the open. We need to be bold. Here is a message from our colleague in Utah:

Dear Editor

  Voters Voted for a Improvement in the Transit System and Help Out Our Environment.

   Voters did not Vote for Bus Routes being Cut every Change Day to Increase Vehicles on the Road and Unemployment going up do to Individuals losing their Transportation to Work

  Voters did not Vote for the Disable and the Elderly losing their Independent.

  Voters did not Vote for not having Good Bus System Increase in Poverty and Crime in Neighborhoods.

   People are Shopping Online because Traffic Grid Lock. This Increases the Unemployment and Reduces the Sale Tax.

   A Good Bus System Helps Out Job Growth and the Economy.

   Tammi Diaz

South Salt Lake City, Utah

see also
see also

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Make public transit free first. Then it will be obvious where to put the rail.

Below is an excerpt from an article by an urbanist who knows what he is talking about. Capital-intensive rail projects require density. Subways are excellent in dense areas, but the purpose of some subways is simply to reduce the pain of the auto-system and keep it viable. As long as the auto-system is heavily subsidized, no proper planning is possible. First... GET RID OF THE PRIVATE AUTO. Make public transit free. Use buses first, then light rail and streetcars as indicated. When the city is revived, the development patterns will change and it will become obvious where to put the rail.

Why Private Transit is Destined to Fail | The Mark: "...The critical factor in transit provision is density. High-density areas can support high volume transit like subways. As the density is reduced, the supportable form of transit changes from subways to streetcars to buses to minibuses to jitneys. Putting the wrong vehicle in an area is an invitation to requiring operating subsidies, or to inadequate service that will lead to declining ridership...."

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Attention "free market" people - fossil fuel subsidy USD 500 B/yr

Irena chief wants to map energy: "Another priority was to raise awareness about subsidies received by the fossil fuel sector, he said. Globally these 'massive' subsidies amounted to an estimated US$500 billion (Dh1.8 trillion) annually, he said, and remained one of the main factors blocking countries from adopting renewable energy options. When governments help oil companies defray the cost of exploration and production, prices of their end product are kept so artificially low that renewable forms of energy cannot compete."