The LA Times online debate featuring the Transit Coalition’s Bart Reed and your truly is in its second day. Today’s questions: How far should the subway system be extended? And should transit systems be subsidized? Some from me:
Let’s keep in mind that Los Angeles rail riders pay only about 3% of the overall cost of their trips. It would be easier to justify these hefty subsidies if the money were focused on helping the poor and handicappedÃ¢â?¬â??improved mobility works wonders for improving one’s lot in life. But far too often officials spend lavishly on rail to subsidize those who already have good transportation options. And, as Environmental Defense’s Robert Garcia explains, railophilia sucks up huge amounts of funds that could be used for moving people who need the only type of transit that really works for them, buses.
Some from him:
Reading your constant inclusion of pointy-head wonk statistics about how transit is bad and costly but private cars are free is really making my head spin. Ideally, any form of public transit, be it rail or buses, should serve where a good percent of the public travels, such as our dispersed areas with high job densities. These systems must transport passengers in a speedy fashion with frequent, punctual service.