Tuesday, June 01, 2004

No Air Castle

Today's Indy Star featured an article on the looming formation of a Regional Transit Authority and a light rail boondoggle for Central Indiana.

Republican suburban Mayor Jim Brainard wants the region to subsidize a rail line from downtown Indy to Carmel, on Indy's north side. Cost? $500 MILLION. Time table? Ready to roll by 2011. So much for fiscal responsibility. The Democrats love public transportation and are unlikely to oppose this massive waste. Who to turn to? The Libertarian Party.

Critics of mass transit question building such a heavily subsidized service, especially because most systems do not have enough capacity to make a significant dent in automobile traffic. And studies show that more is spent per mass transit user than for highway and street improvements.

"Transportation is a private concern, whether it's moving people or moving freight," said Mike Kole, the Hamilton County chairman for the Libertarian Party of Indiana.

Kole says some mass transportation systems, such as New York's subway, are effective. But he questions whether Indianapolis, a smaller city where residents live in less dense neighborhoods, could really benefit from a rail system.

"How many in the region could you honestly serve?" he said. "And yet you would expect them all to pay for it."

But Brainard still backs building mass transit in the Indianapolis area and the north suburbs.

"All transportation is expensive," he said. "So the question is really, what type of transportation is better for the region? To be competitive, I think trains would be ideal."

Has anyone ever moved to a city because of the trains? People move for jobs, for neighborhoods, for lower taxes or crime, for better schools or other quality of life, but for trains? Carmel is the wealthiest city in the state, so how is the region somehow not competitive? Wow.

This is an issue which will allow us to illustrate the folly of robbing Peter to pay Paul to those who normally have no time for us. Here we have the wealthiest city and county in the state seeking half a billion dollars in subisidies to provide transportation for their citizens at the expense of everyone else. The people in Shelby County will understand how they are getting rooked. So will the people of Marion, Johnson, and Madison Counties. Likewise, the inner city residents of Haughville.

Now, let them hear us!

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