Mass Transit, Again
I really like that Abdul Hakim-Shabazz always picks me to be "The Opposition" for his on-air debates on mass transit. He had me on his "Abdul in the Morning" show again today, on 1430-am.
I was loaded for bear, waiting for Marc Fisher to use the 'we can't build our way out of congestion' line- while promoting building light rail. Alas, he must have read my last blog entry on the subject, reacting to hearing Marc represent the Indiana Chamber back in February.
Part of the ammunition included the IndyGo balance sheets from 2005 and other years. I made the case that the lion's share- unwards of 80%- of IndyGo's funding comes from tax dollars. IndyGo President Gil Holmes was in the studio with me, and he did not try to evade the numbers I cited. He affirmed that this was fact.
My opening statement included a philosophical position, that I am opposed to the funding of mass transit with tax dollars; that it represents a massive transfer of wealth from the vast majority of Americans who do not ride to the slim minority who do; that this transfer of wealth is unjust; and that if mass transit is to exist, it should be operated privately, or not at all.
Interestingly, Mr. Holmes reacted to my first statement by saying that he did not want to get into a philosophical or political discussion.
That was interesting, because supporting a massive transfer of wealth is both. It was also interesting because he made an almost endless series of political and philosophical statements.
He claimed all of the secondary benefits proponents like to, such as the environmental benefits, quality of life, and convenience, and justified in the cost. That's as political as it gets, to suggest that something is worthy of extracting tax dollars from non-participants and the basis of intangibles that he was not prepared to support with numbers or other supporting data, in the way my use of his balance sheet supported me contentions.
He said, "workers should not have to pay $2.60 a gallon for gas". Well, if that's not a political or philosophical statement, please wake me up with a cattle prod and let me know what is.
This was a tough show, though, in that despite being an hour long, I was able to get in exactly four comments, each one minute or less. I was not at any time able to rebut any statement by Mr. Holmes or by Marc Fisher, who was on the phone line, because there simply wasn't time to do so within the format of the show. Any one else notice the abundance of commercials and promo spots?
Events two days in a row. It was almost like being a candidate again!