Well the budget’s done in Sacramento, and another year of massive cuts from transit funds are about to kick MUNI, BART and every transit agency in the state right in the face – at the same time more people are riding transit due to high gas costs.
Sometimes I wonder if state government needs the equivalent of a “reset button” – take the state Constitution, flush it down the toilet, shut down the whole thing, and put the Smartest People and some Common Sense people into a room and not let ’em out until they come up with a better Constitution to run things. This half-baked system we have now just seems to invent new ways to fail that we’ll be paying for in the decades to come.
And there’s plenty of blame to go around – both parties, and all ideologies contributed to this ongoing mess, so no moral high ground for either hippies in San Francisco or angry dudes in Southern California. Unfortunately, those of us who work for a living will be paying the biggest price in our day to day commute.
UPDATE: I caught this report KCBS’s Barbara Taylor on MUNI’s reaction to the cuts and it more or less supports what I’ve been saying all along. YES, the aren’t cutting back on buses or trains this year because of the cuts, but instead they’re delaying much needed improvements so that in the future, the system doesn’t fall apart. So once again, short term fixes and gimmicks beat out long term planning.
Do they pull these kinds of silly stunts in other countries? Then again, other countries didn’t see their financial sector collapse and get nationalized either…
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Watch out, the US’s financial system has never collapsed without massive failures in other countries. They’ll be feeling the pinch of our failure soon enough.
The only time we recovered quickly from financial downfalls like this was pre-Federal Reserve. But currently it is busy with Congress cluster f-king us up even more. We might get a whole decade out of this screw like we did the depression at the rate we’re going.
Only bad thing for transit in that scenario is, during the depression transit and rail operations grew. But they were private then, now they’re public and the public entities are what has failed to keep things together.
@adron: good point. Some cities did have private companies, some did not. SF had both MUNI and MSR for a while.
People tend to romanticize private operators’ performance but it’s important to remember that the transit business was only profitable when most people did not own a car. After the war, the “people hauling” business was no longer a money maker.
And, private operators were known for fare increases, service cuts and the like too. MSR in particular was loudly criticized for cutting service, affecting war workers during WW2 and basically telling the government and the City that it didn’t care about the war, but about profits. That was one of the nails in its coffin.