By on October 29, 2009

(courtesy neatorama.cachefly.net)

Despite the billions in federal and state taxpayer dollars poured into mass transit programs, only 6,908,323 working Americans take advantage of the subsidized service, according to US Census Bureau data released yesterday. The agency’s American Community Survey, a questionnaire mailed to three million households, found that 121,248,284 workers over the age of 16 regularly commuted to work by personal automobile or carpool last year. Despite the comparatively small number served by buses, subways and rail, the Obama Administration has made expanding mass transit a top priority. “President Obama’s vision of robust, high-speed rail service offers Americans the kind of travel options that throughout our history have contributed to economic growth and enhanced quality of life,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in April. “We simply can’t build the economy of the future on the transportation networks of the past.”

The stimulus bill poured $8 billion into the president’s proposed expansion of rail. Another $8.4 billion in taxpayer funds have been directed to “stimulate” mass transit on top of the existing federal money set aside for such programs. The president’s 2010 budget sought $42 billion for highway spending compared to $10.3 billion for mass transit programs that serve just five percent of the working public. The president strongly defended his priorities.

“Investing in mass transit and high-speed rail, for example, doesn’t just make our downtowns more livable; it helps our regional economies grow,” Obama explained in a July speech at an urban policy roundtable. “So you take an example like… Kansas City. One idea there focuses on transforming a low-income community into a national model of sustainability by weatherizing homes and building a green local transit system.”

The combined federal spending on transit this year represents a $2300 subsidy for each passenger, not including local and state funds devoted to such programs. Taxes on motorists, including a direct 2.9 cent per gallon federal levy on gasoline, are the primary source of funds for subway, bus and rail systems.

The census survey also showed that greater numbers of the working poor used cars and carpools to get to work than transit. A total of 17 percent of transit users reported incomes over $75,000 per year in income while only 10.6 percent fell below the poverty line.

A copy of the census results can be found in a 1.5mb PDF file at the source link below.

Source: PDF File Means of Transportation to Work by Selected Characteristics (US Census Bureau, 10/27/2009)

[courtesy of thenewspaper.com]

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35 Comments on “Taxes Subsidize 6.9m Mass Transit Riders; Most Poor People Drive to Work...”


  • avatar

    I bet that at least 2 million of the transit users live in NYC, and the majority with >$75k incomes live in Manhattan.

  • avatar
    Western Infidels

    Dividing methods of transit into “subsidized” and “not subsidized” categories doesn’t make any sense; they’re all subsidized in various ways, whether through direct bailouts, tax abatements, government infrastructure projects, etc.

    People who love driving surely should be clamoring for more public transport, leaving fewer cars on the road, no?

  • avatar
    johnthacker

    I bet that at least 2 million of the transit users live in NYC, and the majority with >$75k incomes live in Manhattan.

    I know that in the DC area, the median Metrorail rider has an income over $100k. The average Metrobus rider on the other hand…

    So of course we’re spending tons of (local and federal) money on the rail for the upper middle class, while cutting the bus service that the poor use.

  • avatar
    another_pleb

    From what I can see, rich people have greater choice about where they live and generally choose to live in areas with access to light rail, subways systems and quality bus corridors.

    Property values in areas with better than average transport links tend to be much higher which pushes people on lower incomes out.

    Tackling social deprivation is a tricky business which requires far braver and more profound efforts than simply tinkering around the edges with ofter counter-productive measures such as taxation and subsidies.

  • avatar
    johnthacker

    Here’s a story about Metro’s survey:

    Median income of Metrobus users: $69.2k.
    Median income of Metrorail users: $102k.
    Fraction of Metrobus users without a household car: 1 in 5
    Fraction of Metrorail users without a household car: 1 in 50, median with two cars
    Fraction of minority Metrobus riders: more than half
    Fraction of minority Metrorail riders: about a quarter

  • avatar
    vww12

    The 2.9¢ federal gasoline tax going to mass transit is incorrect and is a common mistake on virtually all news reports.

    From the 18¢ federal gas tax “highway trust fund” on each gallon…

    16% is immediately diverted to mass transit (2.9¢)
    25% of the remainder of the “highway trust fund” is “flexed” away into programs such as STP and CMAQ which… fund stuff such as new bus engines for mass transportation.

    16% + (84% x 25%) = 37%

    The truth is that 7¢, or 37% of your 18¢ federal gasoline tax goes straight to mass transit. Now some may think this isn’t much, but we are talking about $426 billion taxed to drivers from 1992 to 2006 in the name of the “highway trust fund”… of which $157 billion went to mass transit.

    Consider also that the feds used the $157 billions largely as “matching funds”… meaning you paid a lot more in matching local and state taxes.

  • avatar
    jaydez

    I’d take the bus or the train to work if I could.

    There is no train service into Hartford. And to catch the bus I would still have to drive half way there then buy a bus pass for more than it would cost me to drive the rest of the way and park every day.

    The public transportation system in the Hartford, CT is VERY poor and leaves little options other than drving for most people.

  • avatar
    carlisimo

    As if taxes didn’t subsidize roads…

  • avatar
    vvk

    Despite all the money poured into mass transit, service in most cities remains extremely poor. Few routes, illogical schedule, to much sprawl. No meaningful private competition like in other countries.

    I use public transport to commute to work. But I have to drive at least 20 minutes in my car to reach the closest train station. There used to be a train station about a mile from my house — possible to walk there. However, it was shut down in early 80s due to low ridership. In my mind, there is only one way to change this situation. Raise gasoline taxes to $10/gal.

  • avatar
    moedaman

    carlisimo :
    October 29th, 2009 at 10:19 am

    As if taxes didn’t subsidize roads…

    Erm, the reason for the taxes is for roads.

    And they didn’t need to spend money on a survey to show people really don’t use public transportation. Here in the Detroit area the vast majority people who take mass transit are handicaped, don’t have a driver’s license or want to feel good about not driving. The vast majority of people commute via car, while buses are nearly empty.

    In my mind, there is only one way to change this situation. Raise gasoline taxes to $10/gal.

    As long as the solution was flexible, public transportation would then work. But if they talk about light rail, then forget about it. Light rail systems only go where it’s supporters want people to commute back and forth to and not where people actually commute back and forth to.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    There is definitely a chicken and egg problem here. Most people don’t use mass transit to get to work because most people don’t have mass transit available to them to get to work on.

    For example, the train from our town on the edge of California’s silicon valley runs exactly three times in the morning (all between 6:07AM and 7:05AM)and three times in the afternoon. I have a meeting to go to at eleven AM today for which the train would be great … but there is no train at that time of day. Want to go into San Francisco for a night on the town some Friday night? No train, and the roads are such a mess we just don’t do it. San Francisco is missing out on a lot of regional leisure business simply because it is such a painful experience trying to get there.

    But hey, no worries, abundant fossil fuels are here forever, right?

  • avatar
    spt87a

    As a fan of free markets – I’m all for privatizing passenger rail, subway and bus service and getting rid of the subsidies. But – let’s be fair about it. Get the government out of the road, highway, airport and harbor businesses as well.

    Passenger rail, trolleys, etc. ruled the roost until the government started paving over everything to create a viable car network. I wonder how well the car companies would have faired on a level playing field where GM, Ford and the other automakers had to purchase land and build the roads themselves (as the rail roads had to do and still do to create and maintain their track network).

    How many billions of public money in the last 100 years have been spent on highways, roads, bridges and tunnels? Many of the early subway tunnels were private ventures – very few of the auto ones were. Only when the grossly tilted toward the car policies of the government destroyed passenger rail did they finally step in to prop up the passenger rail system by subsidizing it.

    Also, don’t forget, in the 1930′s GM plus some other auto oriented companies (tire companies, oil companies, etc.) created a front company to buy up the private trolley companies, shut down the trolleys and put GM manufactured busses in place of them. Had GM been busy creating roads to support their car customers, they wouldn’t have had the free cash to kill their biggest competitor.

    Oh, and now the Govt is going to subsidize development of the electric car. Electric trolleys and trains have been around for over 100 years – and in densely populated areas make a lot more sense with a log less complexity.

  • avatar
    geeber

    The “GM bought up the trolley lines to dismantle them” story is actually a myth. That isn’t what happened. Municipal systems were moving away from fixed trolley lines long before GM became involved, because of declining ridership and changing residential growth patterns. They also wanted to get rid of the trolley tracks, which made repaving roads more difficult.

    A big problem with mass transit is that planners seem to be stuck on the idea that the majority of people are commuting from a suburb to the center city. Today many people commute from suburb to suburb for jobs as well as for shopping and entertainment. Mass transit needs to be more flexible.

  • avatar

    “We simply can’t build the economy of the future on the transportation networks of the past.”

    Railway systems and subways are way older than cars. They are the actual transportation networks of the past.

    Most people drive and move because they must. Make people drive less, either by telecommuting schemes and/or by designing the cities in a way that makes driving to get some sandwiches obsolete.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    “That isn’t what happened. Municipal systems were moving away from fixed trolley lines long before GM became involved, because of declining ridership and changing residential growth patterns.”

    Then why did General Motors form a front company (National City Lines) to buy up trolley lines while doing everything possible to hide the fact that it was GM money behind the thing?

  • avatar
    Robstar

    I have mass transit available to me and I’m 40-50 miles outside of Chicago.

    The train is 30 minutes away by car and I can use that & be at work in 45 minutes (after I arrived at the train station = 75 min total).

    The problem is the bus service TO the train doesn’t start until I’m already supposed to be at work. Or I could drive to the train, park my car, and ride in. Total cost would be about $10-$12, less than my overall cost to drive, but more than the price of gas. On top of that, I know other peole who live nearby (and work at my company) and have had their cars broken into during the day while parked at the train. Parking is open with no security, and anyone can walk into the lot. One $500 deductible + higher insurance ruins any savings public transportation might give.

    If I’m going to drive 30 min to the train, I might as well just drive 45 min to work.

    I think I’ll just keep driving, and parking for $85/month in a covered multi-level garage that has security personell and take 1/2 the time getting to & from work.

    Public transportation is not the answer unless you are in a very urban area with high parking fees, you don’t mind being coughed/spit on/robbed and your time is worth nothing.

    Public transportation is a “better-than-nothing” backup if your car breaks down, and then only in certain circumstances.

  • avatar
    johnthacker

    Then why did General Motors form a front company (National City Lines) to buy up trolley lines while doing everything possible to hide the fact that it was GM money behind the thing?

    In order to ensure that the buses that inevitably replaced the trolleys were GM buses. And in order to bribe politicians to favor GM bids over competing bids for the contracts to operate the mass transit lines. GM absolutely did bribe to win those contracts.

    However, the trolley lines were going out of business everywhere. They went out of business in places where National City Lines didn’t go and were replaced by buses.

    Just as Chrysler was going to go out of business anyway, but Fiat wanted to get a good deal from the government went it took possession. Your argument is like saying that if the government didn’t favor Fiat’s bid for Chrysler, Chrysler wouldn’t have declared bankruptcy and could continue to sell the same crappy cars that they’ve been selling.

    Trolley lines were originally owned by the same holding companies that owned the power companies. (It worked both ways; sometimes power companies started trolleys, but in many places electric trolley companies produced their own power, and since they used so much economies of scale allowed them to efficiently sell excess power to other people, and they became the power company.) The power companies were regulated and able to charge average cost plus in most locales. They “sold” power to their sister trolley line companies at various inflated costs, pushing up their average costs and allowing them to increase their regulated ratepayer charges.

    In response, Congress passed the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935 that said that a holding company could not own both a regulated utility and a non-regulated company in order to engage in these type of accounting shenanigans. That’s what started the electric trolley decline, as they were no longer useful for that sort of fraud.

  • avatar
    johnthacker

    As if taxes didn’t subsidize roads…

    At the federal level they don’t, outside of this year with the stimulus and last year’s “emergency” legislation, both of which did send General Funds to roads. Here’s the relevant table from the FHWA’s Highway Statistics. (All publicly maintained, federal, state, or local, roads are called highways by FHWA.) User fees cover 72.5% of money spent on roads, though one-sixth of that is diverted to other causes, like mass transit, but it’s also replaced by local money.

    Essentially all federal money is user fees. So is some 60% of state money. At the local money, it’s nearly all local property taxes, bonds (paid by general funds), and other non-user fees.

    Roads are not subsidized at the federal level. At the federal level they subsidize all other transportation. You must rely on an externalities argument to make your point on the federal level, but externalities, properly speaking, are different than subsidies.

    Also see the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Commercial air is barely subsidized at the federal level, and in some years isn’t. Private airplanes, OTOH, are subsidized considerably.

  • avatar
    geeber

    John Horner: Then why did General Motors form a front company (National City Lines) to buy up trolley lines while doing everything possible to hide the fact that it was GM money behind the thing?

    Probably for the same reason GM called its diesel engine division Detroit Diesel Engine Division, its home appliance division Frigidaire, and its aviation division North American Aviation – they represented different lines of business.

    Trolley ridership was declining all throughout the 1920s; the Red Lines of Los Angeles were installed by a developer promoting subdivisions who didn’t want to bother maintaining them once the lots were sold and the houses were built. The municipalities were happy to get rid of them, because ridership was declining and the rails made road repaving more expensive and difficult.

  • avatar
    rdeiriar

    Nobody noticed the russian GAZ 12 ZIM railcar ?

  • avatar
    George B

    Interesting article on the energy efficiency of different transportation methods.
    http://www.templetons.com/brad/transit-myth.html

    Bottom line is mass transit isn’t all that energy efficient when it runs often enough to be convenient. If the goal is energy efficiency, we would want more people to travel on 2 wheels.

  • avatar
    sco

    After enduring 10 yrs of a two hr/day bay area commute, I sometimes wonder what my life would be like if effective public transportation was available. I did get to spend a week in DC riding the clean, highly efficient (and highly subsidized) metro system instead of commuting, and while it was great for about 2 days, jamming into cars and standing got very old very quickly. My commute with the windows open, listening to what i wanted as loud as I wanted, stopping when i wanted and leaving when i wanted didnt look so bad. Public transportation makes your world very small. A headline in the satirical newspaper “The Onion” had it right several years ago – “98% of Americans favor public transportation for their neighbors”

  • avatar
    fincar1

    Nobody noticed the russian GAZ 12 ZIM railcar ?
    Yes, what a cool photo!

    I believe that the main reason so much taxpayer money is spent on mass transportation systems is because inner city politicians lobby for them; companies that construct the systems and build the equipment lobby for them; politicians who get campaign contributions from these companies lobby for them; outfits like ACORN lobby for them.

    Rail systems do not have enough flexibility to be useful in most places in the United States, and cost a lot more than bus transit systems, which at least could have the flexibility if they were run well. Commuting patterns are far more diverse than they used to be, to the point where sometimes even carpool lanes don’t help all that much.

    Pie-in-the-sky people prattle about folks living closer to where they work, and a lot of such people actually do live in the inner cities or nearby suburbs, and work in Washington DC or in state capitals, and many such people actually could live well without a car. That doesn’t mean that the rest of us can.

  • avatar
    RetardedSparks

    Guess I stumbled upon “The Truth About Public Transit” accidentally…

    So, is any discussion of the use of tax dollars now a legit TTAC topic since tax dollars were used to bail out Detroit? Just curious.

  • avatar
    RichardD

    I think with terrorism, H1N1, or the next great media-scare pandemic it makes perfect sense to use government’s tax power to force people into densely packed, confined spaces for long periods.

    I’ll stick with my personal vehicle with its own HVAC and no smelly rich liberals to infect me.

  • avatar
    Geotpf

    Transit is susidized for a lot of different reasons:

    1. It provides mobility for the poor, eldery, young (children), and disabled.
    2. It reduces pollution.
    3. It reduces greenhouse gases.
    4. It reduces the amount of foreign oil used.
    5. It reduces traffic.

    All are good public policy goals. Getting rich people on to buses and trains helps with goals 2 through 5. Plus, some eldery, young, and disabled people are rich (or come from rich families).

  • avatar
    Chicago Dude

    Public transportation is not the answer unless you are in a very urban area with high parking fees, you don’t mind being coughed/spit on/robbed and your time is worth nothing.

    OK, I’m not sure where you live 40-50 miles outside Chicago that you are being robbed while taking the train. The Metra commuter trains in Chicago are very nice, clean and comfortable for the price they charge. Metra, BTW, is just like Amtrak where they are more than happy to carry private cars on their trains – all you have to do is pay what it costs. There is still one private car in service on one of the North Shore lines. It used to be mostly bankers and lawyers but the owners of the car have membership open and anyone can join. You can ride home in style with a stiff drink and socialize with high-class folks who probably wont spit on you. Robbing you blind may be a concern however.

    Anyway, I have no dog in the hunt as I walk to and from work. It’s just over a mile and you may be surprised at the traffic jams on the sidewalk. LOL.

    What I really object to is your characterization that public transportation is only worthwhile if your time is worth nothing. I respectfully disagree and submit that the exact opposite is true. Public transportation is great if your time is worth a lot. You can do work, sleep, stare out the window and ponder the meaning of life… Anything you want, because someone else is driving. You can be productive or not.

    In my former job, I knew a lot of people that loved taking the train to work because they could put on their headphones, open their laptop, and knock out an hour of work every day with nobody to bother them. Some used it to shorten the time spent at the office and others used it get more work in and advance their career. Either way, it wasn’t possible in a car and that is a very hard thing to put a price tag on.

  • avatar
    bomber991

    Public transportation is not the answer unless you are in a very urban area with high parking fees, you don’t mind being coughed/spit on/robbed and your time is worth nothing.

    I ride the city bus to school, and yeah this is mostly true. I haven’t had any problems getting robbed or spit on though. But on the damn bus, I do have to go all the way to the back and sit in the corner so I’m not stuck with some idiot sitting behind me coughing all over the place.

    The bus is so slow too. I do live within 5 miles of my school, and I live right next to a bus line that goes to the school. It takes me 5 minutes to walk to the bus stop, then I have to wait 5-10 minutes for the bus, then I sit on the bus for 30 minutes, and then I spend 10 minutes walking to class.

    You would think the damn bus could drop you off right next to the campus instead of at the very edge of it. If you drive you also have to do the 10 minute walk, but with the bus they could avoid that and even offer that as a minor convenience of taking the bus.

    Anyways, they have this “Semester Pass” thing here that’s $35 and basically lets you ride any bus route in the city from August till December 31st. So I figure I am saving some money, probably $125 over the whole semester.

    Part of the problem is just how frequently the service runs. Luckily it works pretty good for going to school, but if I want to go anywhere else I’ll just drive. Most busses either run once every 30 minutes or 60 minutes. I couldn’t imagine going grocery shopping and then sitting at the bus stop for 20+ minutes. Then it looks like to get to most places I would need to transfer busses, and again, couldn’t imagine waiting 20+ minutes to transfer to another bus.

    Now, I did ride on Amtrak once and it was pretty cool. Smooth ride and you didn’t have to deal with your ears popping like in a plane. Only problem is that Amtrak tickets cost the same, sometimes more, than plane tickets, and unless you’re traveling in the north east, the trains run horribly behind schedule. I’m talking trains arrive hours late on a planned 4 hour trip. This is because in the NE amtrak owns the tracks, but in the rest of the country they don’t.

    If there was a high-speed rail option of travel that was similarly priced to air travel, but ran on time or close to it, I’d be traveling that way.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Here’s what no one here is talking about: regardless of the demographics of mass transit riders, without it, many of our largest cities would literally grind to a halt.

    Can you imagine if New York depended entirely on automotive commuting? Good luck! There aren’t enough freeways in the world to properly serve that city, and if by some miracle there could be, the cost would be beyond calculation.

    Ditto for Washington, Philadelphia, Boston and Chicago. Without their mass transit systems, those cities would gridlock themselves into oblivion.

    Want a look at some large cities that depend almost entirely on automobiles to get people around? Try Los Angeles, Atlanta or Houston. Is it a coincidence that these cities have horrid traffic? And would the traffic situation be better in those cities if they’d invested in large-scale subway or rail service 50 years ago? I don’t think there’s any question about that.

    We subsidize ALL forms of transportation, folks, whether it’s mass transit or roads.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    If we’re going to talk about the cost of mass transit, consider this:

    Here in Denver, we just widened and improved one stretch of I-25 from the southern suburbs to downtown. Cost: $1 billion.

    And that stretch of road comprises maybe 10% of Denver’s freeway system.

    By comparison, at the same time they improved I-25, they built a rail line between the southern suburbs and downtown. Cost: $250 million.

    Now, consider how much it would cost to thoroughly upgrade the freeway systems in a city twice Denver’s size – Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Washington, Seattle…

    Let’s also consider the disrpution caused by large-scale highway redevelopment. Here in Denver, the I-25 project took eight years to complete. In St. Louis, where the main east-west route through the city – I-64 – is being redeveloped, portions of the highway were actually shut down for years at a time. The impact on businesses that depend on that highway for their lifeblood has been massive.

    Any wonder why mass transit is seen as a viable option? If we want to drive in anything but gridlock, those of us who love driving should get behind it.

  • avatar
    dolorean23

    The agency’s American Community Survey, a questionnaire mailed to three million households, found that 121,248,284 workers over the age of 16 regularly commuted to work by personal automobile or carpool last year.

    Who are these three million households? Do they live in the DC-Phi-NYC area or are they from Raleigh-Durham or Arizona? Makes a big difference in access to public trans and the public perception of public trans.

    I think with terrorism, H1N1, or the next great media-scare pandemic it makes perfect sense to use government’s tax power to force people into densely packed, confined spaces for long periods.

    I’ll stick with my personal vehicle with its own HVAC and no smelly rich liberals to infect me.

    Wow, really? You’d stick with your car because of the spectre of possible terrorist attacks and pig flu versus the vast majority of Americans who die from road rage, weather related incidents, and the occasional bridge collapse?
    Even the horrifying terrorist attack on Spain’s railine pales in comparison with the number of dead on our roads every year. Just remember to wash your hands, sneeze in your sleeve, and add a little cheese to your whine.

    If there was a high-speed rail option of travel that was similarly priced to air travel, but ran on time or close to it, I’d be traveling that way.

    Me too. So why isn’t this a reality in America? Well, rambling down conjecture road, we find big oil who doesn’t want you to give up your car. There’s the airline industry who can barely keep its sh** together and doesn’t want the competition. And then there’s the Cargo/Freight rail lines that like having the nations rails all to themselves. Let’s not forget the State and Local gov’ts who make most of their revenue in fuel taxes.

  • avatar
    geeber

    FreedMike: Try Los Angeles, Atlanta or Houston. Is it a coincidence that these cities have horrid traffic?

    Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., have horrid traffic, too. Both cities are served by mass transit systems. Philadelphia’s system is quite extensive (the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority – SEPTA).

    I’ve sat on Philadelphia’s Schuylkill Expressway on a SATURDAY MORNING. And traffic wasn’t stopped because of an accident or road construction. Traffic just ground to a halt…and then started moving as mysteriously as it had stopped.

    Don’t even get me started about the Washington, D.C., Beltway…

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    Four conditions must be met in order for mass transit to work well:
    (1) a large population,
    (2) the same origin,
    (3) the same destination,
    (4) the same schedule.
    Absent any one of these, it fails. We see the results every day in the form of nearly empty mass transit vehicles and roads crowded with private automobiles.

    My western state has two large cities, about 50 miles apart, connected by an interstate highway. Many people commute to work by car between them. Several years ago, state politicians debated building a rail line in the median of the interstate as an alternative to widening it from four lanes to six. Proponents of the rail line never addressed getting from home to the train station and from the station at the other end to your job. My own suggestion was that they build huge parking lots where people could leave their day beaters overnight.

    For a few months, thirty years ago, I had to take the bus to work. Fortunately, both my apartment and my workplace were only a couple of blocks from a bus stop. Commuting over a distance of only 11 miles took 90 minutes. By car, it took only 20 minutes.

    I now live in the northeast corner of town and work 16 miles away in the southwest corner. All but three of those miles are interstate with speeds between 50 and 60 mph during rush hour. Commuting by car takes 20 to 25 minutes each way. Taking the bus would require walking four miles and riding for nearly two hours. Even if I caught the first bus of the day, I would arrive at work more than an hour late.

    My previous employer was a large company with corporate headquarters in New York City. A guy on the corporate staff, who lived in Connecticut, had a three hour commute by bus and train each way. He would leave home at 6 am, arrive at work by nine, leave at four and arrive home again at seven. After a while, he moved to New Jersey. That cut half an hour off the trip each way.

    My wife is a musician. One of the criteria for the location of our home was that she be able to leave her day job at 5 pm, eat dinner at home and make it to orchestra rehearsal at seven. This was quite easy by car, but impossible by bus.

    There are two lessons in these examples. The first is that it is possible to commute via mass transit. The second is that doing so requires you to sacrifice huge amounts of personal time. I’d rather have a life that wasn’t limited to weekends and vacations.

  • avatar
    criminalenterprise

    geeber:

    When heading into Philly, I take the train, which takes slightly longer and is surely more expensive (for me) just to avoid the Sure-Kill. It’s typically worse than L.A. traffic.
    Going to D.C. can be silly. The beltway routes are more jammed shut than downtown, and using the Interstates that take you within blocks of the White House is faster than fighting the daily suburban transhumance.

    I’m happy to pay for mass transit systems. It frees up the roads and gives me some options (some times). If we’re worried about highway maintenance we need to have a different conversation, one about heavy multi-axle trucks, since they are responsible for nearly all surface wear.

  • avatar
    tenmiler

    @FreedMike,

    My only beef with your otherwise dead-on post is your city size estimates.

    Seattle isn’t “twice the size” of Denver. ;)

    Good post. And for the guy who says Fed money isn’t used for highways outside of the stimulus, you’d be wrong.


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  • Re: Chart Of The Day: Crossovers Are King

    Scoutdude - The Mazda 5 and Ford Transit Connect Wagon would disagree that there are not mini minivans in the US. I believe that the Nissan NV2000 is going to offer a...
  • Re: Chart Of The Day: Crossovers Are King

    Marcelo de Vasconcellos - But those sales come out from a couple of things. The high seating position is appreciated by women, not only, but women (rightly or...
  • Re: GM Builds Their Last 1500 Series Van

    Scoutdude - The Sprinter is not FWD. Haven’t see a UPS branded Sprinter. There are a few remaining FedEx Sprinters but in most cases they are owned by...

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Staff

  • Authors

  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • Tycho de Feyter, China
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India