Mass Transit Mania


“Melissa” over at FSP takes Urbanite Magazine to task about their September cover story about mass transit in Baltimore.

Melissa makes four points. Points 2 and 4 I don’t have a problem with because they point out ostensibly factual errors in the article and were in fact quite informative. However, points 1 and 3 are, no pun intended, odd.

Point 1 “You quote Donald Fry pretty extensively. But you don’t mention that, as president of the Greater Baltimore Committee (GBC), he has an axe to grind. Namely, that raising corporate taxes to help increase funding for the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF) — the very one he laments is suffering from underfunding — is terrible, awful, no-good, and very bad (see GBC’s press release). I’m thinking journalist ethics generally require full disclosure.”

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Quoting a minion of an arm of the evil business community who opposes taxes constitutes a violation of journalistic ethics? Sorry Melissa, but the article has extensive quotes from mass transit citizen advocates as well.

Point 3 “Obtaining “choice” riders. Yes, this is priority. But please don’t act as though it is an impossibility. Getting riders out of their cars could involve increasing gas or excise taxes to more heavily subsidize transit over highway.”

“Choice riders” is a deceptive term for us troglodytes who have not seen the light and forsaken our cars for the government funded glory that is mass transit. The prescription of increased gas and excise taxes is nothing more than government coercion to limit our choice to poorly run government run mass transit, much like government schools.

I’m not against public transportation in fact I have used it in the past, where it has worked for me and declined to use it where it has not. I used to commute from Baltimore to jobs in DC and Old Town Alexandria. I drove my car from my home in Baltimore near Hopkins to Penn Station and took the MARC train to Union Station and then METRO to my DC or Old Town destinations. At one point, I tried taking the MTA bus from the stop near my home to Penn Station. The bus was hardly on time, for the scheduled stops, and during some periods of the year that line did not run a full slate of buses. Going back home from Penn Station after work there wasn’t even a reliable bus that would arrive within 30 minutes of the time my MARC train arrived back in Baltimore, if that train even arrived on time at all. It was more time and cost efficient for me to drive to Penn Station, getting there early enough to find the free parking spots surrounding the station. Now that I work in Baltimore, it still doesn’t make sense to use mass transit because I can get to and from work faster driving my car than taking the bus. The Baltimore transit system is not reliable for all of us, and the progressive prescription, milking the taxpayers to throw more money at the system, like their discredited solution for schools, won’t make it more reliable.

Why should those of us who drive—the best choice for us—have to incur higher fuel costs and taxes to increase funding to an unreliable system we do not use?

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