Lost in Transit
April 12, 2013
What is it about Liberals and mass transit boondoggles?
We’re hardly the first to discover that bus lines, light rail, trolleys—all conveyances that take all their passengers where someone else decides they should go—are held in special reverence by persons of the Liberal persuasion.
Some psychologist could render a genuine service to society by examining what it is about mass transit that resonates so deeply in the psyche of the Left; it might explain a great deal of what bedevils us today.
Sunday’s La Crosse Tribune had a story that’s a perfect gem, surely in ways the Tribune didn’t intend. It quotes a pair of local transit mavens, undoubtedly chafing that the Legislature last year all but wiped out regional transit authorities and their power to levy taxes on people with little or no use for their services. Some of us have distinct memories spanning decades, of municipal bus lines grasping for subsidies in the face of dwindling demand. In one precious quote from Sunday’s Tribune, the story of half a century is told:
“The service we provide is directly related to the funding we receive,” he said. “It’s not really related to demand.”
That was Keith Carlson, La Crosse Municipal Transit Utility manager, explaining, we guess, that his mission in life is to expend as much as possible of other people’s money to run buses around town irrespective of the drivers spending their workdays in mobile solitude.
Another advocate would remedy our perceived shortage of buses roaming in search of a passenger by scrapping the regional concept and going statewide: an unelected body with statewide taxing authority. We call that failing upward.