Club Soda and Salt

No more stains

Random thoughts on sub-optimal transit funding

Posted by clubsodaandsalt on April 11, 2009

One really annoying thing about transit policy is the way that budgets get closed. Frequently, you have a budget gap, and since we hate transit in this country, the state/local govt will insist that the department close it. It seems to me (based on casual observation) that the bias in closing these gaps is to cut service, rather than to raise fares (or cut salaries/admin). I think there are a couple of reasons for this: 1) fare hikes are felt by everyone, and service cuts only by a small percentage of riders. It's like the reason we get protectionism, but in reverse, which is kind of odd to me. This is like the only place where concentrated harms lose out. (2) Fare hikes (much like tolls) are pretty intuitive to grasp for the dim-witted people who are in local govt. Service cuts are less easy. If I'm a local pol and drive everywhere (and they all fucking drive because they get free parking and are massive hypocrites) I don't really understand the impact of making someone walk an extra 5 minutes to get a different bus, for example, or how much time having to transfer adds to a commute. As a result, I think pols are less likely to vote for fare hikes than might be ideal.

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