Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Taxypayers Funding Mass Transit Media Push

It is absolutely appalling, but it's the very reason the public doesn't stand a chance against the media juggernaut that is behind the push to raise local income taxes to fund a multi-billion dollar mass transit system that will be run by an unaccountable, unelected board whose sole mission is to dole out contracts and jobs to the pay-to-play crowd behind its push. To my surprise, the Indianapolis Star permitted one its columnists, Andrea Neal, to write an opinion piece pointing out the flaws in the proposed mass transit system for Central Indiana. The most important point she makes is that the media campaign behind it is being paid with our taxpayer dollars, money that isn't available to the general public who opposes the plan to counter with opposing views. Yes, there will be a public referendum, but the opponents of the referendum won't have a multi-million dollar media budget to counter the propaganda being spewed by the proponents:
A referendum sounds fair, but won't be. Mass transit advocates have at their disposal tax dollars to finance their campaign. TV and radio spots running now are paid for by the Federal Transit Administration, whose mission is to support public transit development. Ordinary citizens can't fight this.
Big money will be poured into a referendum because big money is to be made off mass transit expansion. Consultants, contractors, lawyers, bond buyers and sellers, architects, engineers, bus builders and locomotive manufacturers will be salivating.
The main point Neal's piece makes is that mass transit simply won't be successful in Central Indiana because of the obvious lack of population density that is required for a successful mass transit system.
There is one inescapable reason that a regional mass transit system will not succeed in the Indianapolis area.
"Put simply, mass transit needs mass -- i.e. density." And we don't have it.
The quotation comes from two experts in urban transit: Erick Guerra and Robert Cervero of the University of California at Berkeley. They studied 59 bus rapid transit, light rail and heavy rail systems in 19 metropolitan areas. Their lesson is: For mass transit to be cost effective, job density and residential density must be high along the way.
Central Indiana does not have high-density employment hubs or neighborhoods to justify mammoth investment in public transit. Yet once again, the movers and shakers are pushing the legislature to pass a bill that would be the first step of a costly process setting up a regional mass transit system.
Neal emphasizes a point I previously made--only 2% of the population looks to mass transit as a means of transportation. "It makes no sense to invest $1.3 billion -- for the initial phase of the plan -- into 2 percent of the workforce, especially when their transportation needs could be met more creatively and cheaply," Neal writes. She also makes the point that the economic development claims being made by proponents of a regional mass transit is nothing more than a pipe dream.

The Public Policy Institute of California studied more than 200 transit stations opened in that state from 1992 to 2006. The launch of new stations did not result in higher average employment growth in the areas surrounding them -- after they opened or several years later. "This finding runs counter to a goal of transit-oriented development policy," researchers concluded.
And no, she reminds us, people who now favor the automobile simply won't change their commuting habits because the government builds a billion-dollar light rail system connecting the suburbs to the inner city.
There's a reason Indianapolis got rid of its world-class electric streetcar system in the 1950s. Hoosiers fell in love with cars and moved to the suburbs, creating development patterns that revolved around the automobile. Building rapid transit will not miraculously bring back job and neighborhood density.

By the way, if you view the people in the video ads promoting the mass transit, you will find a lobbyist for a law firm that is lobbying for its passage, an attorney at a major law firm that is lobbying for its passage, the head of a nonprofit, business organization lobbying for its passage, as well as a few other people on the government dole, so to speak, who get kickbacks on any public contracting opportunities for having the label MBE or WBE attached to their business name. These people aren't the least bit representative of the public; they're simply members of the downtown mafia who carry out various rackets and other public schemes to line their own pockets at your expense.

1 comment:

Citizen Kane said...

Wow, common sense in the