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#50 of 79 Re: free bus rides are back [fintail]
by Mr_Shiftright HOST
May 30, 2010 (11:11 am)
I really don't know. That's a good question. All I know is that Europeans pay higher taxes and get a lot for them. I seem to pay quite a bit of tax and wonder where it all went. My mass transit STINKS and my libraries are closing up and we don't have nearly enough cops.
I'd certainly pay extra for a really great public transit system. Right now, to travel 85 miles in California doesn't cost very much in public transit but it takes 3.5 hours to do it. 22 mph is not all that much faster than people traveled in Roman times or in the 1860s in America.
And driving is getting pretty brutal...if it isn't traffic, you have to worry about being picked off by massive Highway Patrol efforts to increase revenues.
Whenever I drive on Hwy 17 anymore, I feel like one of those bomber fleets going over Germany, trying to dodge the CHP. We all know that about 1 to 3% of us are going to get shot down every mission.
#51 of 79 Re: free bus rides are back [Mr_Shiftright]
May 30, 2010 (11:47 am)
I don't think European gas prices have anything to do with the environmental or social impacts of fossil fuels. The taxes simply subsidize other programs. Nothing wrong with that. I too would pay for a system like they have - but it would cost a lot more here as in most places residential density is just so much less. I can't imagine having a transit network in my area like can be found in Munich or Zurich, or even Stuttgart or Luzern, where some vehicle is running within 5 mins walk no more than once every 10 mins, from 5am to midnight.
We receive less for the taxes we pay than others as we have massive defense and foreign obligations and parasites sucking us dry - not to mention domestic issues like public sector perks and pensions. We pay a lot less, but we get so much less.
Driving here is a nightmare too - most cities ardently refuse to synchronize lights and work on traffic controls, roads are second-world quality at best, traffic law enforcement is 90% a ridiculous money grab, and oblivious driving seems to be encouraged. My in-town afternoon commute can often average under 15mph per my car - and that's on 35-40mph roads...speeds go down when you hit every red light and get stuck in a line behind idiots going 28 in a 40. I wonder if anything would change if the money put into speedtrapping and cameras was put into improving traffic flow...and if public sector traffic "engineers" were held to any level of accountability. On that note, I have to be suspicious of this "congestion charge" proposal, given the lack of results provided by its supporters in other traffic-related areas. I also wonder about the impartiality when presented by a bicycle enthusiast/advocate. Remember the third type of lie.
#52 of 79 Re: free bus rides are back [fintail]
by Mr_Shiftright HOST
May 30, 2010 (1:21 pm)
A major part of the problem is psychological. Our national mythology is not the same as Europe's. To us, when a person steps on a bus or train, they are a "loser" at worst, or a worker drone at best. This is simply not the social attitude of the European. The myth of "freedom" has been drilled into our heads since the 1840s, and while very romantic and kinda fun, it works against social cooperation when things get tight or tough. Only drastic situations like a war or disaster changes American attitudes, and then it goes right back to Davy Crockett as soon as the crisis passes.
#53 of 79 Re: free bus rides are back [Mr_Shiftright]
May 30, 2010 (5:24 pm)
I've never understood how "freedom" can be considered owning a big mortgage on a tract mcmansion 30 miles from work. It's that development philosophy that makes workable mass transit impossible.
#54 of 79 Re: free bus rides are back [fintail]
by steve_ HOST
May 30, 2010 (6:10 pm)
People don't realize that you don't own stuff ... it owns you.
As far as terrorism, take out a couple of bridges or a tunnel (or a refinery or two) and you shut down car and traffic and hammer the economy in a flash.
#55 of 79 Re: free bus rides are back [kernick]
May 31, 2010 (10:09 am)
I believe the government should separate the funding for roads, highways and bridges from mass transit, and allow each system to pay for itself. Then each system can pay its true costs to operate.
Agree, as it is worse in WA where the road taxes paid in Spokane subsidize the Puget Sound Ferry System so a few can enjoy the pleasures of Island Living. So besides using gasoline taxes for MT the vote here is to float the boat as well. Dumb.
#56 of 79 Re: free bus rides are back [euphonium]
May 31, 2010 (11:12 am)
Not to mention the compensation abuses of several ferry workers...have you watched the stories on KING5 lately? Appalling.
#57 of 79 Re: free bus rides are back [steve_]
May 31, 2010 (11:16 am)
You mean "freedom" isn't defined by a Mexican-built Escalade, and a questionably built 5000 sq ft mcmansion made of the finest Chinese drywall, plywood, and face brick located an eon from work?
No infrastructure is immune from terrorism.
I do have to wonder...London has embraced the congestion charge ideal for some time (I think hybrids and microcars are exempt), has it helped their woes at all?
#59 of 79 Re: free bus rides are back [fintail]
May 31, 2010 (1:45 pm)
I really enjoyed having 300 feet to my closest neighbor's house at my last place.