Mass Transit attacked

CA Senator Ray Haynes, currently running for U.S. Senate, states in an article which we received [1/9/00]:

California's motorists are at a crossroads between two visions of government. First, is the solution of big government: centralized mass transit systems, continued highway gridlock, higher taxes and longer commute time. The other is the solution of liberty: commuters who choose their own efficient mode of transit [meaning tranportation, not transit -Editor] and who are not forced into a comply or suffer scenario. The first is authoritarian; the second responds to consumer choice. The first [mass transit -editor] has failed miserably, the second [more highway construction with lack of alternatives, but described as "liberty" and "choose" -editor] can succeed if given a chance.

Response by MTS President Akos Szoboszlay:

Senator Haynes article is a rehash of similar statements by those promoting minimal government and who continually attack mass transit. They have their "facts" backwards, as I replied:

The highway system is the most communist institution in America and you fail to realize it! It is:

Mass transit was the exact opposite. For example, the Pacific Electric:

Yet, streetcar companies and especially the Pacific Electric are repeatedly attacked by hypocrites promoting "liberty" and "freedom" including Reason Magazine*. This is a total twisting of reality: supporting the communist highway system, yet attacking private enterprise just because it is in the mass transit business.

GM commercials have equated "freedom" with a GM vehicle on the road, no other traffic, and you apparently fell for this absurdity. Freedom to choose is having alternatives like mass transit. Forcing automobile use by destroying alternatives, which GM did in fact do, and you apparently support, is the opposite of "freedom."

In America, mass transit was historically provided by private companies with no government subsidy. It was government subsidy to automobiles that was the primary reason for their failure. Subsidies also include involuntary private subsidies, like complying with parking requirements and developer fees for "assessment districts" that pay for more lanes -more subsidies to the automobile. All subsidies to the automobile encourage greater automobile use, increasing congestion and reducing the market share for transit.

*Reason Magazine claims that automobiles have reduced air pollution and improved safety (compared with alternatives of streetcars, walking and bicycles). It also claims that the air in streetcars was "a pestilence; heavy with disease and the emanations from many bodies" and that General Motors was "framed" and never destroyed streetcars. See details.

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