I ran across an opinion piece about public transit in the Tennesseean this morning. It’s pretty frustrating because it’s the typical Tea Party mindset that the government shouldn’t be doing anything. I’m a big supporter of improving public transit in the Nashville area. Mr Harper obviously just wants more roads. I wanted to respond to a couple his comments.
I believe it will be shown that rides on MTA and the Star are subsidized by the taxpayer, very heavily so in the case of the latter.
Given the extent of the probable taxpayer subsidy required, is it in Nashville’s best interest to commit to extensive subsidized transit expenditures to support real or imagined growth?
So? Roads are heavily subsidized by the taxpayer. As far as I’m aware, there are zero toll roads around Nashville and the highway trust fund doesn’t cover all of the costs of building more roads and its’ even going to go bankrupt in 2014. Let us not forget the ethanol mandate and the corn industry is certainly heavily subsidized. It seems that Mr Harper isn’t upset about subsidies but upset about the idea of transit. I wonder how much of that is fueled but the culture war?
Car supporters have a double standard. They want the fare of the transit tickets to fully cover the costs of operating a transit system but they’re blind (willfully?) to the fact that roads are not paid for by users. Fuel taxes need to go way up in order for that to happen and I’d bet Tea Party types like Mr Harper would be at the front of the line complaining about big government.
So, is it in Nashville’s best interest to commit to subsidized transit in Nashville? YES! Absolutely! Nashville needs density and public transit. If a person doesn’t want to be part of that then fine, they’re welcome to live in Lebanon or Murfreesboro.
For the record, I’m not anti-car. I just think the government should stop subsidizing cars so that the true cost of car ownership and operation can be known and then it would be a much more fare comparison to transit.