By on December 13, 2017

“In this country, you gotta make the money first. Then when you get the money, you get the power. Then when you get the power, then you get the women.” Thus spake Tony Montana, anticipating the recent avalanche of sexual harassment claims by a few decades. What ol’ Scarface didn’t bother to tell us is that, for some people, the power is enough. For that lesson, we have O’Brien in Orwell’s 1984, who tells us that the Party seeks power for its own sake. “The object of power is power,” he says.

Those words floated to the front of my mind when I read about Chicago’s new tax on ride-sharing services. The city was already charging 52 cents in tax per ride — plus five bucks per airport pickup — but now it will be charging 67 cents per ride. Starting in 2019, that total will increase to 72 cents.

What could the city do with that extra 15 cents? It’s already scheduled to receive more than 70 million dollars in ride-sharing taxes. What could the justification possibly be for upping the ante? And which of the Chicago machine’s many, many incompetently-operated programs could possibly have the moral right to receive this unexpected bounty?

If you know Chicago, you know the answer. But even if you don’t know Chicago, chances are that you can make an educated guess.

The $15 million or so raised by taxes on rideshares will, apparently, be going to fund public transit, with the bulk of it earmarked for infrastructure improvements on the rails. The Chicago Transit Authority — and I’m not speaking about the outstanding first album by Terry Kath’s band, but rather the ponderous bureaucracy that oversees rail and bus transit — believes it has lost 5 percent of its riders due to ridesharing.

Just for a moment, imagine the idea of General Motors complaining to President Trump that the redesigned F-150 was costing them 5 percent of Silverado sales and that they therefore should be the beneficiaries of a “Silverado tax.” Isn’t that outrageous? Well, it did kinda-sorta happen in 2008, only the other way around. But I digress. Most sane people agree that the government should not be picking winners and losers, regardless of whether the “winner” in question is Vice President Cheney’s Halliburton or President Obama’s Solyndra.

It’s easy to argue that the ride-sharing companies are predatory parasites that suck their drivers dry even as they nimbly transfer most of the liability onto the shoulders of people who are often too poor, or too ignorant, to even get the correct insurance for what they are doing. I tend to think of Uber as a choice for people who, like lottery-ticket purchasers, are bad at math. The fact remains, however, that these companies saw an opportunity, developed an infrastructure, and created a market, all without help from the Rahm Emanuels of the world. Uber might be a jerkoff stock scam run by sociopaths (or it might not be!) but the community of Uber drivers that has arisen in each major city represents a real grass-roots effort at solving transportation problems that are both valid and difficult.

In fact, I can’t help but think that some sort of distributed open-source system will eventually replace Uber and Lyft the way Craigslist replaced most of the Jurassic classifieds sites out there. You’ll pay five bucks for an app that connects you with available drivers, then you’ll cash them out via Paypal. It’s no trick to do it. Both the driver pool and the customer base has already been established. The only thing you’ll lose is the extremely thin veneer of perceived safety that you get with Uber. If you’re a grown man, or if you’re in a concealed carry state, chances are you won’t miss said veneer.

There’s something awfully gratifying about the way the ridesharing companies have outmaneuvered the saurian public-transport mandarins. Uber was founded just eight years ago. That’s less time than it took Toronto to construct a single three-mile subway extension. The rail-and-bus folks think in terms of decades, moving at a snail’s pace across an obstacle course festooned with the multitudinous follies of modern government and endless red tape, putting in 35-hour weeks liberally sprinkled with coffee breaks and sleepy meetings. They could no more compete with Uber than I could win the Olympic 100-meter dash. They are content to suckle slowly but strongly at the public teat until every last drop is gone.

It’s not just Chicago. It’s Los Angeles, which deliberately builds mass transit in places it’s not wanted as a showcase of progressive thought, then turns its back on the ragtag army of UberPool drivers who pick up the slack. It’s New York, protecting the value of taxi medallions at all costs because that’s the way it’s always been done. It’s the way the ride-share drivers are harassed at Heathrow, tagged and ticketed by an army of brand-new traffic cops.

As Marley said, though, none of them can stop the time. It is very, very hard to tax a genuinely better mousetrap out of existence. The fact of the matter is that public transit, as envisioned by enlightened urban planners and power-drunk urban officials, is the worst of all possible solutions. I hear that it worked great in my grandfather’s day, with hundreds of thousands of Brooks-Brothers-clad men in their ties going to work on Wall Street. And it worked great after Giuliani got into office and deaded shit. But it’s not compatible with modern ideas about who gets to live in an American city and what rules the police have to play by in dealing with those people. We live in an era where the BART is stormed without warning by looters, where violence on the NYC subway is spiking and 10 percent of riders say they’ve been assaulted in some way. Let’s not even talk about Chicago. There’s a reason people would rather take a chance on riding UberPool in some undocumented immigrant’s ’99 Odyssey, and that reason is the CTA.

You’re going to hear more imperial outrage from our moral superiors in urban governance. They will continue to complain that the proles don’t take the trains like they’ve been told to. They will continue to complain that UberPool traffic is clogging the streets that should be reserved for private car services and S-Classes steered in from the suburbs. They will put a finger on the scale and, when that doesn’t do it, they’ll put a fist there. It’s not about making sure that people have transportation options. It’s not about making the streets safer. It’s about the naked exercise of power, of being able to force millions of people to do their bidding.

When those people refuse to play along, you are going to see some real temper tantrums. When the Colosseum jeered his favorite fighter, Caligula was heard to say, “Oh, that the Roman people had but a single neck!

In the end, however, it was his throat that got cut. It’s a lesson that our modern would-be Caesars would do well to remember.

[Image: joisey showaa/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)]

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137 Comments on “No Fixed Abode: Oh, That the Roman People Had but a Single Neck – or a Single Transportation Choice!...”


  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    When you need to get around Chicago, it’s better to hire Habib and his ’99 Accord rather than ride in the mobile homeless shelters/portajohns that are Metra trains.

    • 0 avatar
      Waterview

      Not sure which Metra line you ride, but the ones that service the Western suburbs are clean, relatively inexpensive, and on time. There’s a premium for housing close to the stations along these lines because it works so well. Can’t speak to the funding or bureaucracy that may be involved, but the product is pretty darn good.

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      Ditto for the Metra Electric line. I’ve rarely had a delay in nearly a year of commuting, and I’ve never seen any passenger who didn’t appear clean and reasonably attired. I’ve even used the rest rooms on the trains, which have been cleaner than most rest rooms I’ve used at sports and concert venues.

      • 0 avatar
        Featherston

        @ Waterview, Sloomis, and ClutchCarGo – 4th that.

        @ everyone else – For a reference, the movie SOURCE CODE includes some Metra interior shots. No one who’s actually been on a Metra train would describe them as mobile homeless shelters/portajohns.

        See youtube.com/watch?v=3t3bYq0xAS4

  • avatar
    olddavid

    Time to have your meds adjusted. This paranoid screed brought to you by messrs. Smith, Wesson, and company. While there are snippets of insight here they are thoroughly camouflaged.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Watch it, please. Let’s not make insults involving people’s medicinal needs.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      If Mister Smith and Mister Wesson or perhaps Heir Heckler & Heir Koch actually made society safer, the USA would be the safest country in the world.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Guns don’t kill people, statistics kill people.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          @28-Cars-Later – ” statistics kill people ”

          There is much truth in that part of your comment.

        • 0 avatar
          Luke42

          “Guns don’t kill people, statistics kill people.”

          Which is why my problem is with gun guys, not the guns themselves. Especially the EDC guys.

          Internet gun guys are one of the best arguments in favor of gun control that I’ve ever encountered. Their ignorance of the gun safety principles I learned as a kid from my dad, and reinforced by the Boy Scouts of America, are the main reason why I don’t bring my sons to the range these days. I have a big problem with armed idiots — despite growing up with rural gun culture and having Libertarian leanings, I’ve come to believe that laws to keep fools away from guns are a good thing — mostly because of what Internet gun guys have said online.

      • 0 avatar

        Actually, no U.S. cities are in the top 10 for murder rates. St. Louis has the worst murder rate in the U.S. and that puts it at #14 on the list. Caracas makes Detroit look positively safe by comparison.

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          Ronnie do you really believe that it is useful comparing American cities to those in developing nations? Isn’t that setting the bar very low?

          Or have you conceded that the USA can no longer compare to 1st world nations such as Japan, Canada and most of Europe in regards to ‘quality of life’?

          http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/the-most-violent-cities-in-the-world-latin-america-dominates-list-with-41-countries-in-top-50-a6995186.html

    • 0 avatar
      Jeff Zekas

      I thought I was paranoid and needed meds too, until all my nightmares became real: here in Eugene, single buses designed to hold 40 passengers regularly only have 3 or 4 aboard, the new “high speed” EMX double buses are empty, and homeless derelicts control the bus depot, the plaza, and the sidewalks, urinating, vomiting, and sleeping casually, while the mayor squeals about “social justice” and “Trump is the problem.”

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @Jeff Zekas – how do you suggest one deal with homelessness?

        BTW – a derelict is by definition homeless.

        A lack of social justice is part of the problem. Inadequate access to healthcare is also part of the problem.

        “30-40% of homeless adults and 15-20% of people in jails and prisons in the United States have a serious mental illness.”

        • 0 avatar
          stingray65

          Actually it is much higher than 30-40% of homeless are mentally ill, especially if you consider substance abuse to be a mental health issue – then it is probably over 75%. The solution is to lock them up in mental hospitals just like we used to before ACLU lawsuits unlocked the doors – its the only way to keep them on their prescribed meds and off the unprescribed drugs and alcohol.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            @Stingray: A major reason why they are not kept in proper facilities is that ‘conservatives’ do not want to increase/pay the required taxes to build and run these facilities.

            Are you willing to increase your taxes in order to provide them with a place to live?

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @stingray65 – often drug and alcohol abuse is an an attempt to “self medicate” a mental health problem.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Truthfully, its too complex of a problem to blame any one thing or person.

        I wish I had a realistic answer.

        • 0 avatar
          olddavid

          However, one solution is a reasonable budgetary policy. The Congress just gave the Defense department an $80 billion unasked for increase. To put that in perspective, that money would fund college education for all as well as children’s health care.It can be done with sensible adjustments. The definition of “sensible” is, of course, a nebulous ideal.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I am in agreement such a thing is a nebulous expense, and I believe a healthy chunk will be siphoned off to black projects.

            Money however does not fix addiction, neurological issues or other mental illness, low IQ, or the failed debt based currency system which produces such poverty in the first place.

            The simplest and easiest thing to do right now would be to adopt European food and water regulations. Removing known toxins from the food supply is a no brainer.

            Oh but who owns dot gov again? Monsanto, ADM, Pfizer, Purdue Pharma et al.

  • avatar
    Advance_92

    Chicago’s transit system is much better than most western or midwestern cities. Uber drivers from the suburbs have displaced taxis as the worst menace on downtown streets these days. They don’t know where they’re going and the app with directions is such a distraction they never seem to be in the proper lane. Plenty have big white scrapes from stopping within or too close to bus stops, too.

  • avatar
    Truckducken

    Slow clap.

  • avatar
    Andrew Justus

    Still waiting on your takedown of the inherent tyranny of gov’t-mandated parking lot minimums. Far more widespread and costly than ride-hailing taxes.

  • avatar
    Boxerman

    Best article I have read in long time. Just when I thought Jack had lost his touch or been too tamed by the new regime.

    Your talents may not be fully appreciated here,

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      Likewise.

      Something I learned in nine years of being a government employee (Cambria County, PA) is that it is in no way paranoid to believe that once a government entity is set up, it will never disappear, and it will fight, tooth and nail, anything that can possibly get in the way of it’s intended expansion – much less attempts to make the entity smaller.

      For the most part, government jobs are rather easy jobs: The duties are delineated to an excruciating point thus ensuring that no employee is ever going to suddenly have lots of extra work tossed on them at no notice, job security is paramount, and supervision is strictly controlled ensuring the maximum chance of carving one’s own little niche where the minimum work is done to meet expectations. And at no time will said employee ever face dealing with a motivated go-getter who could possibly make them look bad in their position.

      If anything, the only fear a government employee needs face is the possibility of a wholesale change in the ruling party at the governance level. The realities of modern life, faced by most non-governmental employees, totally do not exist here.

      And there’s always more taxes to go after, to fund the necessary expansion.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        In the case of public transit, though, it SHOULDN’T ever disappear. In fact, it should be expanded. If it isn’t, then those of us who love to drive either a) have to pay more to expand roads (which is RUINOUSLY expensive), or b) pay with our time to sit in traffic.

        • 0 avatar
          OneAlpha

          Seems like it’d be better to use the money to build tiered roads.

          We make buildings more than one story – why not city streets?

          • 0 avatar
            ClutchCarGo

            Ask the families and survivors of the Nimitz Freeway collapse in 1989.

          • 0 avatar
            OneAlpha

            Clutch,

            You’re not suggesting that we write off an entire transportation CONCEPT just because a natural disaster destroyed an example of said idea, are you?

            We obviously need more traffic-carrying capacity in our infrastructure, and stacking roads would be a pretty good way to get it.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            Probably because they do not work well.

            Believe that it was tried and failed in NYC and Boston?

            Has become a billion dollar boondoggle in Toronto with the Gardiner Expressway.

          • 0 avatar
            baconator

            This idea was actually pretty well reviewed, and in some cases implemented, in the 1950s and 1960s. The problems are:
            (1) Exponentially greater expense to build.
            (2) An elevated street creates and urban border that people don’t like to cross. Nobody wants to be “under the bridge.” So it tears up the natural flow of people and cuts residential neighborhoods off from commercial ones.
            (3) Crime basically increases in the shadow of an elevated street or highway.
            (4) Property values for homes/buildings plummet when they’re in the shadow of an elevated street.

            Several large projects were built and subsequently torn down. Fritz Lang’s Metropolis only looks cool from far away.

        • 0 avatar
          rpn453

          I agree that public transit should continue to exist, but only where it’s economically feasible. Having huge empty buses drive around all night is ridiculous.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        It is always the fault of the state but no mention of deep.

        I should buy stock in aluminum foil since tinfoil is no longer made.

  • avatar
    FThorn

    No fixed abode.
    I see this as the ultimate of the robot cars.
    I can work anywhere. My job just requires internet connection.
    cars are mostly for commuting. This can be eliminated.
    We could see the world on solar power at single digit speeds, across our lifetimes. Technically possible to work and live from a small sometime-MOVING-sometimes-PARKED (if one chooses to start at grand canyon for a while), and never burn drop of fuel. 1/2 mile an hour, or 3 mph. shrug. across dozens of decades, see the world.

  • avatar
    3CatGo

    Imagine a boot, stamping on a gas pedal…forever.

  • avatar
    Sloomis

    Public transport is the worst of all possible solutions? You’ve obviously never lived in a major city then. The worst of all possible solutions is sitting in your car in stop-and-go traffic and paying $20 for parking instead of reaching the same destination in less time and for less money on a train.

    • 0 avatar

      Execution of the transportation is key. Other organized countries tend to do mass train transit better than the United States. I’m not sure why ours is so crappy, other than the inefficient government organization of it.

      • 0 avatar
        Syke

        Part of that answer is the constant fear of American commuters, scared to death that they’re going to be put into public transportation with ‘those people’, rather than luxuriating in the sanctity of their own personal automobile, crawling at 15mph thru gridlock.

        Most Americans will happily put up with gridlock, if the alternative is being stuck in a vehicle alongside people that they would never willingly live alongside.

        • 0 avatar

          Valid point RE: social stigmas. Arthur expands on that below.

          I guess that persists until your population/traffic becomes such that it’s not feasible to take your own car, lest you never get anywhere on time.

        • 0 avatar
          Sam Hell Jr

          Disagree. In my experience, most Americans who commute into urban centers by private car do so because they prefer to live somewhere farther away for any of a number of perfectly valid reasons, and public transit is logistically incompatible with their specific commute or with their other needs, especially the requirements of parenting.

          I’ve yet to hear a criticism of the decision to commute by car that doesn’t devolve into a criticism of the decision to move to the suburbs in the first place.

          • 0 avatar
            OneAlpha

            “I’ve yet to hear a criticism of the decision to commute by car that doesn’t devolve into a criticism of the decision to move to the suburbs in the first place.”

            Thank you for pointing that out.

            “Why, how DARE those nobodies move out of our centrally-planned rabbit-hutch of a city! Don’t they know it’s simply better to live in high-density urban environments?”

        • 0 avatar
          zamoti

          When I lived in Los Angeles, I used to commute from Burbank to Ktown every day. At first, I drove and it was like the opening scene from LA Story, ducking through alleys to dodge impossible left turns, stoplights, school zones, etc. It was a solid hour of stressful frustration. A crash or closure, and it just got that much worse. After the first week I had considered quitting when someone mentioned that the firm would buy a train pass for you. I took the Metrolink surface train to Union Station and then the redline to Wilshire & Western. Though it was a solid hour commute, it was EASY. I could sleep on the train, read, daydream, NOT stress out. The coachmen who patroled the trains were pretty strict about not putting feet on seats, no Nextel PTT phones (yeah, it was a while ago) and there was a quiet car if you could get a seat on it. The subway was a little less nice, but still clean and reliable. The worst thing that happened was that as I slept one day I was awakened by the sound of an electric shaver. A tranny at the back of the car decided to freshen up on the ride to work it would seem.
          Given the choice, I drove as infrequently as possible. The tradeoff of having to be on the train’s schedule was totally worth it. Even if the firm didn’t buy the ticket, once I got used to it, I would have spent my own money.

      • 0 avatar
        Andrew Justus

        We subsidize car use and the land patterns that mandate car use.

        Public transport is severely handicapped as a market participant because its subsidies are heavily scrutinized, while the direct and indirect subsidies of its competition are not.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        @Corey:

        “Other organized countries tend to do mass train transit better than the United States.”

        Probably because it doesn’t have the same socioeconomic stigma overseas. Here, riding transit is for the “undesirables.” Therefore, we fund our transit systems like we’d fund welfare programs – bare bones. No wonder it can be unpleasant to ride them.

        Do they have light rail in Cincinnati yet?

        • 0 avatar

          The (relatively useless) tram is up and running, going from Fountain Square to the casino. It was a boondoggle to start with, and now the people who claimed we “need” it aren’t riding it. On a Bengals game day it rides around mostly empty.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Interesting. Sounds like they went wrong by making the original line something of a novelty, versus something that would actually work as a transit solution.

            I think one of the things that Denver did right was making the original line a real transit solution linking a real population center with downtown, versus something tourists would ride around downtown in. The system grew from there.

            Shame about Cincy’s…transit is darn nice if done right.

          • 0 avatar
            TMA1

            For years and years, the mayor of Columbus wanted something similar running down High St. Glad it never happened, because no one would be riding it (and the fixed route is covered by buses anyway).

      • 0 avatar
        bunkie

        Inefficient government organization? Really? That’s the reason?

        The real reason is very hefty gas taxes that provide the funding for those systems. Our transit systems here in the States are starved for cash. That they work so well in many cities is rather remarkable.

        Cities choked with Uber cars driven by people who are desperate and at the mercy of an arbitrary private organization that can, on a whim, decide how much money it gets to keep all the while raising requirements of its drivers is a system doomed to fail. It stands a very good chance of disappearing just as quickly as it appeared. It’s a Libertarian pipe dream that ignores the consequences of extremely rapid change, a get-rich-quick scheme that cares nothing for the people it serves or “employs”.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      You didn’t bother to read why he said it’s the worst possible solution. Sitting in traffic and paying for parking nets you a less than 1/10 chance of being assaulted.

      • 0 avatar
        Sloomis

        I’d bet your chances of getting killed in a car accident are higher than your chances of being assaulted on public transport.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        Where is the 1 in 10 statistic from?

        In Toronto in 2016 over 538 million rides, with an average of 2 reported assaults per week (another source says 1 every 3 days on average).

        Far less than you would see in the average bar or nightclub.

      • 0 avatar
        Sam Hell Jr

        Danio: and there is a lot of daylight between “tolerable inconvenience” and “assault”. A homeless guy playing pocket pool while leering at my female companion on the Red Line might not be “assault” in the way the studies define the term, but it certainly would influence my decision-making about commuting options. And several of my Chicago-based friends and colleagues have observed or been the object of that kind of attention, so I don’t invoke it as a hypothetical.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          “A homeless guy playing pocket pool while leering at my female companion on the Red Line”

          That actually meets the legal definition of assault:

          “An assault is carried out by a threat of bodily harm coupled with an apparent, present ability to cause the harm.”

          Once there is physical contact then it becomes assault and battery.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Where I live, the public transit system is quite safe. If it weren’t, I wouldn’t let my daughter ride it every day to and from the college she attends.

        Fear of crime on public transit is not an insignificant concern, but it’s played up far more than it should be.

    • 0 avatar
      Sam Hell Jr

      Why do so many choose private vehicles, the moment it’s financially feasible?

      And anyway, why is the private vehicle option so unappealing?

      Why is traffic so bad and parking so expensive? Who designed the roads, set the street repair budget, and awarded permits for parking construction?

      Why is supply of housing, especially decent family housing, with easier access to metro business areas so limited? Who makes residential zoning determinations and defines utility service and school districts?

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        @Sam: in Toronto and in fact in a large number of urban centres, having a residence located close to (walking distance) to a subway or other forms of LRT greatly increases the property value of that residence.

        Being located bordering on a major road or highway has the opposite effect.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        “Why do so many choose private vehicles, the moment it’s financially feasible?”

        Because in most of America, the other options are deeply unappealing. The only exception is a few large cities, all of which except Chicago are either in the northeast or on the west coast.

        “And anyway, why is the private vehicle option so unappealing?”

        Conversely, if you are in one of the large cities mentioned above, parking is expensive and hard to find, cars are frequently damaged and insurance is expensive, and traffic is terrible. Getting around by other modes is always much cheaper and often faster and easier.

        The reason this should be important to everyone else is that, to accommodate population growth, more cities are going to have to get denser, and transport will start to look more like the existing big cities.

        “Why is traffic so bad and parking so expensive? Who designed the roads, set the street repair budget, and awarded permits for parking construction?”

        Because cars take up a huge amount of space compared to people. You can’t make roads big enough, or build enough parking, for everyone to move by car in an area with any significant amount of density. And even if you could, building huge roads and parking creates a deeply unappealing environment. Would you rather spend time around suburban big-box stores or in the downtown of an old city?

        “Why is supply of housing, especially decent family housing, with easier access to metro business areas so limited? Who makes residential zoning determinations and defines utility service and school districts?”

        Now that’s a really fun question. Housing in big coastal cities is spectacularly expensive because existing residents have an incentive to prevent new development in order to drive up their own property values. As a result, big West Coast cities (the most extreme example) have built anywhere from 1/3 to 1/10 of the housing needed to keep up with population growth, restricting building by imposing stringent zoning requirements. You can add housing in already dense places — but we don’t.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          +1 on all these points, dal.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Nice points, especially about zoning.

          I do disagree about increasing density though. I’m not Canadian as you know but I was in Toronto in July. Condo buildings everywhere up and going up, some in seemingly random places. Yet, I was quoted condo pricing at about 800K CDN around GTA, roughly 600K USD. In Seattle, this is also 600K or more for new projects, yet GTA is about 3m people vs 704K of Seattle. The Canadians are definitely priced out realistically, and probably most folks in Seattle with median income of 80K.

          If you increase your city’s density without corresponding construction, you will eventually surpass Toronto in price per citizen. Even with some construction, I think it won’t be enough, and I think eventually you’ll peak and decline. Denying construction to create artificial real estate valuations is a house of cards at best. I think you made the interesting point to me people are fleeing NorCal and SoCal to Seattle because they are already priced out. Everything seems to exist best in a balance.

          https://www.seattletimes.com/business/real-estate/king-county-home-prices-jump-14-percent/

          https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/data/80000-median-wage-income-gain-in-seattle-far-outpaces-other-cities/

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            “Condos are going up everywhere.”

            That’s certainly how people feel. But what do the numbers say? They say it’s not enough. In Seattle, there’s about enough room for 1/3 of new arrivals. In San Francisco, it’s more like 1/10.

            Toronto is a bit of a special case as there’s actually signs of a bubble there. But in SF, Seattle, LA, Portland, and San Diego, prices are driven by market fundamentals. There are just more buyers than properties for sale.

            In Seattle, you won’t find any condos at all, because of excessively restrictive Washington condo liability laws. All of those new towers are apartments. If you want to own, you’re going to be one of the 20 buyers submitting an offer for the few existing single-family houses or condos on the market. And to show you how few… there are currently zero houses for sale within 1/4 mile of my house in any direction.

            Zillow says I’ve made 25% in 15 months on my house. I think that’s a bit over-optimistic, but the market is as hot and underserved as ever.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            As dal20402 has pointed out, Toronto Ontario is in a bubble situation. Vancouver is in a similar mess. I cannot speak for Toronto but part of the problem in Vancouver is wealthy Asians “offshoring” cash from China. Trying to tax foreign home purchases has made the Toronto problem worse.
            Vancouver is also running out of viable real-estate to build upon. Surrey has much more room to grow and is predicted to surpass Vancouver in population.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Interesting stuff gentleman. My tutor’s daughter who was recently married bought something for 850Kish last year (not sure where in Seattle). She said it was similar size to mine, and mine is a 4BR/2000 sq-ft property. This sounds like a deal after reading about 600K new condos in your city, when you can get them. It also says to me, 28 you can’t afford to visit let alone live here.

            I follow the Vancouver situation but have not experienced it. Toronto simply seems like everyone wants to live there but I’m not sure why in particular (nice city but to me does not scream you just have to live here). Too crowded, but I loves me the GO train so I can stay out in the hinterlands with the lesser proles.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            Toronto is rather a ‘special’ case. As it is the largest/richest city in the only 1st world nation bordering the USA.

            First Toronto learned from the ‘white flight’ and hollowing out of many American cities. Successive governments worked to ensure that people continued to live in the city core. And in fact its population has actually increased over the past decade.

            With the increase of population, diversity, increased street life and traffic including commuting via bicycle, Toronto is becoming more European in its outlook/attitude.

            Secondly there is an astounding amount of offshore money, from China, Russia and the Middle East being brought in and invested into real estate. This allows these families to ‘park’ money in a safe state, and often they then enroll their children in Canadian universities/colleges. The University of Toronto in 2016 derived more in tuition fees from foreign students than Canadian students.

            As well as getting ‘some’ of their money out of potentially unstable countries/situations, it also provides them with immigration rights/documents. Being sponsored by their children, entering under the fast track investor/entrepreneur status.

            Therefore they are quite willing to take a loss on their real estate investment if they have to. For it is better to get out from a civil war/revolution safely with some of your money, than to remain at home and possibly lose everything.

          • 0 avatar
            ect

            I’ve been hearing about the Toronto real estate bubble for more than a decade now. It’s a myth.

            Net inbound migration to the GTA is around 100,000 people per year, which creates demand for 70,000 new housing units every year. In the City, there is no new single-family housing being built (no land left to build houses on).

            So, a continuing increase in demand and no new supply can only mean prices will go up. Over the past 40-50 years, the long-term increase in Toronto housing prices has typically been in the range of 6-8% per annum. Hardly a bubble, considering.

          • 0 avatar
            Maymar

            ect, for what it’s worth, I live in a mediocre condo in a mediocre neighbourhood at the far end of the subway line, and although there’s no shortage of sad glass box condos in Toronto, it’s still been increasing by about 10% a year (hypothetically). In addition, in real terms of (un)affordability, we’ve seen a pretty significant rise over the past few years (excepting the bubble in the late 80s, the inflation adjusted average mortgage payment, on the average home, reflecting that year’s average mortgage rate was something averaging $2500/mo or so – we’re about 40% higher right now). Considering there’s really no way interest rates can drop any further to falsify economic growth, at a certain point, it’ll have to start levelling off or burst outright.

          • 0 avatar
            ect

            Hi Maymar, I hear what you say.

            I don’t know about percentages, but the Toronto market has been absorbing 10,000+ new condo units since around 2000. Ever since I returned to Canada in 2002, I’ve heard people predict that the market would collapse because there couldn’t possibly be enough buyers. It hasn’t happened, and shows no signs of happening any time soon. People have jobs, mortgage money is plentiful and cheap, and the population keeps growing.

            Nothing goes up forever, of course. Apart from a major economic downturn, the surest way to reduce demand for housing in Toronto would be to double interest rates (small changes would have virtually no impact). Historically, one would say that has to happen sooner or later, but the BoC doesn’t look like going there in the near future.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Political opinion being passed off as commentary. Yet many of the B&B get their knickers in a twist if the comment section devolves into political discourse.

    JB’s major supposition is incorrect. Public mass transit works, and works very well in a large number of urban centres around the world. It is the way of the near future, not private vehicles.

    The major problem with mass transit in the USA is the class bias. American commentators and the ruling class in America continue to disguise their class bias by creating a racial bias, a true ‘strawman’ strategy.

    In cities where middle, upper middle and even lower upper class inhabitants are conditioned to taking public transit, the stigma evaporates and the system receives the type of funding and support it requires/deserves to remain effective.

    Uber in the developed world is merely implanting into developed nations a Jitney style system that is common in 3rd world nations that have little to no existing infrastructure.

    As for Toronto, the King Street project now moves 65,000 public transit users on an average weekday, putting their needs ahead of the 15,000 to 20,000 (estimates have varied) private vehicles that previously dominated that road.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Everything in this comment is correct.

      • 0 avatar
        brenschluss

        Except for the claim that in a city where both rich and poor use public transport it will not languish. Everyone takes the subway in NYC and it still sucks. The other arguments seem to rest on this, too

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          @brenschluss: you are basing your statement on one example instead of a global base. And public transport in NYC has by all accounts improved, particularly since the low points of the 70’s and 80’s.

          And now you will have Andy Byford running the system and he is highly competent, if a bit of a publicity hound.

    • 0 avatar

      @kindharmless You will not use inflammatory violent type terms here. This is your warning.

    • 0 avatar
      Daniel J

      I have zero problem with public transit as long as it funds itself. I’m pretty naive about public transit, but how many cities with large scale public transit are self sustaining?

      • 0 avatar
        rdchappell

        Do you hold roads and highways to the same standards? Because those definitely aren’t paying for themselves, especially when you include long term liability.

      • 0 avatar
        rpn453

        New York had the most efficient American public transportation, according to an article I read a few years back in Car and Driver. Users covered about 50% of the costs. I think Los Angeles was down around 20%.

        Of course, fuel-specific taxes should be high enough to cover the entire cost of the roads, and nothing else.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    What’s that sound? Oh, just Jack thinking that every urban place will always and forever be New York circa 1977, again?

    Time to get out (of the car) more. Go to any city in western Europe, even the small ones, and ride the transit there. Come visit Seattle and ride our brand-new trains, which will steadily expand to cover most of the city over the next few years. Do a bit of arithmetic, and realize that in a place with even moderate density there’s just not enough room to have every person use an individual 15′ x 6′ metal box for transport. Use a bus or train that runs every few minutes, and realize that the lack of having to find and pay for $30 parking at each destination really does make things a lot easier.

    I own three cars. I could afford the $369 monthly parking in my building if I wanted to cut down on gourmet cooking or home improvement a bit. Yet I commute by bus or foot, by choice.

    There’s a place for rideshare. It’s great to shake up the taxi monopoly and the systems work well for a lot of trips. But for strictly geometrical reasons it can’t ever be the dominant mode of transport in a large city.

    • 0 avatar
      Sloomis

      Eh, I think he’s just playing the frightened sheltered suburbanite simply for the fun of stirring up some sh!t…

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Well, that and he’s swallowed the “every government program is just an attempt to control you” conspiracy theory hook, line, and sinker.

      • 0 avatar
        bunkie

        I lived in a Columbus suburb (near where Jack is from) for five years. It’s a suburban paradise for that brief period between when your development is new and it is being abandoned for greener pastures (actually former green pastures). It’s a slash-and-burn development model that expands in rings around the inner city. The distances get longer, the waits at the left turn lanes get longer, the fuel consumption goes up and in many of these communities, there is literally no “there” there. All of the new development is going on outside the I270 ring. The places we used to do our weekly shopping are now abandoned. It’s very strange going back there. There’s a lot to like about the area but it can be disturbing looking at in time-lapse mode as I do when I go back there.

    • 0 avatar
      Sam Hell Jr

      Accepting all of that, and asking sincerely: does it follow that taxes collected from ride sharing should subsidize public transit? Not just the trains and busses, but the administration and the pension plan?

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Well, you have to have administration, including pay and benefits, to have trains and buses.

        And there’s a decent argument that all car users, including rideshares, should subsidize transit in large cities. There is only so much road space. People in individual cars (including solo rideshares) use a disproportionate amount of that space, while pedestrians and public transit users use very little of it.

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          Correct. Citizens, even those who do not own or use private vehicles pay taxes to subsidize road building, road maintenance, plowing/salting/sanding, traffic lights, street lights, signage and road/traffic/parking enforcement.

          The land used for major roads/arteries deprives the municipality of development land. Whereas developments can be built over subway lines.

          Asphalt is a carcinogen, extensive roads can lead to flooding as they cannot contain rapid/extensive rain, and then there are the accusations of noise/air pollution/emissions and dependency on fossil fuels that private vehicles are dependent on.

          Not that I am against the use and ownership of private vehicles, however objectively in built-up urban areas, public transit is indeed if properly built and supported ‘the better way’.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            “Not that I am against the use and ownership of private vehicles, however objectively in built-up urban areas, public transit is indeed if properly built and supported ‘the better way’.”

            This.

            I’ll add: if you love driving, you need to love transit. Jack can complain about transit in Chicago as much as he wants, but curiously enough, he doesn’t really enumerate what happens to that city – or any large city – without it.

            I’d rather have the “Nazi War Criminal Dentristry Scene” from “Marathon Man” re-enacted on me than drive in Chicago (and Chicago in particular) without a transit system.

          • 0 avatar
            OneAlpha

            “Asphalt is a carcinogen…”

            In Soviet Kalifornistan, EVERYTHING is a carcinogen.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            And OneAlpha once again proves he skipped class the day they taught everyone about what the Soviet Union actually was…

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Is it safe?

          • 0 avatar
            Daniel J

            In a free market, public transit, along with private transit, should be self sustaining and independent of each other. I completely reject the idea that citizens who use one should subsidize the other. At the same time, those who are using private transit and private roads should be taxed to cover road costs.

            Lets look at it from another perspective. If we put X amount of tax on every sub ride to subsidize private transit, how would everyone then feel?

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Commuting anywhere is becoming pointless for many careers. Telecommuting would do wonders for any urban or suburban infrastructure.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Unfortunately, my seven-year telecommuting gig is coming to an end.

      • 0 avatar
        ClutchCarGo

        Telecommuting only works for knowledge workers. You can’t telecommute to a manufacturing or service job. The skilled trades have to travel onsite as well.

        I telecommuted for several years. It started to feel strange, never having face to face contact with co-workers and customers. I decided to switch jobs when my company decided to spin off a major division that I was part of. I had no sense that anyone knew me enough to value me when the inevitable cuts came. I’ve been physically commuting for about a year now. Face time is nice, but I would really like to telecommute a couple of days a week, though.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          There is always a medium. I also agree with you on facetime, once a week would work for me. Nice time to plan out the week’s goals and have in face communications.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          At this point, the vast majority of office workers, who in most places are the vast majority of commuters, are knowledge workers of one kind or another. At my company, there are six of us who actually go out in the field and have to lay hands on things. There are about 50 people behind the scenes who make that happen, and more than half of those people telecommute. Plus the 20-odd sales people around the country who by definition are mostly telecommuters, though some of them do actually rent their own office space and don’t work from home for one reason or another, mostly because they have children to get away from.

          I figure I have the ideal blend. I travel 60% or so of the time, so I get facetime with people. But I work from home in-between trips, so no commute. Which is GREAT. I currently mostly live 1400 miles from my office, and about 1200 from my boss (who also telecommutes). Because we are both adults, he leaves me alone to get my job done for the most part, and I figure a large part of my job is making his easier. I have no fear of being cut from the team anytime, ever. Because it doesn’t matter where I live, I get to summer in Maine and winter in Florida, which is a lifestyle I have very quickly become accustomed to, and have no desire to ever change.

    • 0 avatar
      Felix Hoenikker

      Where do you park your cars to avoid the $369 per month fee at your building?

    • 0 avatar
      Advance_92

      “Go to any city in western Europe, even the small ones, and ride the transit there.”
      Nah, just go to Chicago and meet some “real” Americans on the CTA. The good, the bad and the ugly.

  • avatar
    Sam Hell Jr

    It’s interesting to me that a piece about the governmental response to how ride-sharing threatens public transit interests sparked comments about private-vehicle ownership and commuting by car in general. I did it, too, so: just highlighting.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    It’s been a few years since I’ve been to Chicago; once my best friend moved down to Texas I had very little reason to visit the Windy City. But I thought the public transportation was just fine there, provided you didn’t go to some of the worst parts of town. We managed to get just about everywhere we needed to go for shopping, restaurants, and the night life.

    Driving, on the other hand, was a nightmare to me, as was the parking.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    As an FYI, for ORD, like many big-city airports, taxis also have to pay an airport pickup fee. It’s not like ride”sharing” companies are being singled out for singularly brutal treatment. (And, by the way, how on earth did they get the name “ridesharing”? A relatively small portion of the rides are any different from calling for a taxi. There ain’t no sharing going on most of the time.

    And yes, cabs and ride”shares” both clog up airport roadways, and a way to try and tamp those numbers down isn’t exactly my idea of tyranny.

    If the money had gone into the general fund instead of public transit, I’m sure you would have been up in arms about that too.

    • 0 avatar
      bunkie

      There was an interesting article in the New York Times the other day about how ridesharing is affecting airport revenue as airport parking is a big part of airport income. The responses to this problem are both interesting and predictable: “parking clubs” that offer parking subscriptions with guarantees of prime spaces and fees levied on ridesharing as well as private pickups (as in London Gatwick and Heathrow where, in order to pick someone up, you *must* park and pay the fee).

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      The original concept of Uber was that it would make it easy for commuters to find people to commute with them. Hence “ride share”. The original intent was not to be a taxi service, but that is what it quickly evolved into.

  • avatar
    Boxerman

    I take mass transport every day to work in NYC, not because I dont have the cars to drive or even because its cheaper, but simply in comparison to driving its convenient timewise and stress wise to ride the rails. I really dont want to spend 3hrs per day being a drone in traffic, when i can spend 2 hrs of relative suffering in carriage followed by a healthy walk.

    However even though I commute from a well off suburb (so there is no possibility of leftist defined “class bias” as an excuse) mass transit still totaly sucks. The seats are still flithy. As winter comes sick people insist on going to work, one cough in the carriage on monday leads to a 70% sick carriage by the next monday.

    People broadcast their lives on their cellphones, its usualy crowded so you may be standing anyway or if sitting crushed between people an no one gives crap about anyone else, such is the modern culture in which we live. Think of coach on plane except worse and you get the idea.

    Its worth it because I dont have to drive through traffic, its comparatively stress free and quicker. Give me the option of my own autonmous car and I’m in.

    If I need to move about NYC I’ll walk or take the subway, because taxis are simply gross and youre stuck in traffic.

    Mass transit because it monopolizes the rails/routes offers one benefit, quick convenient known schedules, in every other way it totaly blows, and its not inexpesive. Thats why given an option people prefer their own car, just as they prefer their own room to a dormitory.

    Mass tarsbit is also a government service and all that implies
    Yes Mass transit in Europe is better its also 80% subsiduized.

    Mass transit works if its a better option. For many its not. If you look at traffic flowing into NYc those are simply people who have made the life,cost and traffic tradeof decsion and fior them its worth drivign depite its drawbacks.. Essentialy in the greater NYC area even with much easily avaialble mass transit many people still choose to drive which tells you how bad an experience mass transit is, even from a wealthy suburb where there is no possibility of class bias getting in the way. Class bias is just a leftisty excuse for why their pet transport scheme is not a substitute.

    Noe is mass transit efficient, because it does not just run at peak use hours and needs to pay for runing service and empoluees all hours, hours when it is underutilized it is actualy finanicialy ineffcient and even enviromentaly so, yet foir users still quite expesnive.

    Thats why uber thrives, and thats why if one day autonomous cars solve the traffic problem which is really a problem of humans merging and exiting highways, then mass transit will suffer furtehr..

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      Some interesting observations, however ‘class bias’ is a fact.

      Just read the article and the comments. Notice that not wanting to be with these ‘other’ and ‘dangerous’ people is mentioned as a reason for not taking public transit.

      The distaste for travelling with these lower classes is palpable. However if everyone on public transit looked like they were cast members in Baywatch, then imagine how differently it would be viewed.

      In Europe many executives, information workers, bank workers, etc take public transit. It has a different perception. Some Americans cling to the belief that only those who cannot afford a car take public transit.

      And ‘class’ bias is often a strawman for ‘racism’. I believe that rather racist euphemisms/names exist for the Atlanta and perhaps the Washington public transit systems?

      • 0 avatar
        Jeff Zekas

        Being afraid of gang members is not “class bias” or “racism”. It is a observable fact that if your ride on BART, at some time, your train car will be invaded and you will be robbed. I never worried about gang activity on the Tube in London or on the Metro in Paris… but on the Bay Area Transit System? It is controlled by the Bloods and the Crips. I grew up working class, but that doesn’t mean I want to be hustled by street criminals on the train.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    Chicago is in such bad financial condition they are looking for every nickel and dime they can fleece off the public to pay ruinous local pensions, terrible public schools, and a whole host of other inefficient public services. They are obviously increasing the Uber tax because they have found it to have inelastic demand, so increased tax will result in increased revenue because Uber customers will continue to use the service anyway. Public transit actually makes sense in dense cities such as Chicago, but the cost to run the system is ridiculous compared to European systems, and easy tax money takes away any small incentive the CTA might have to find efficiencies.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Do you have figures on what the actual cost per mile is in Europe, versus here? If so, I’d be interested in seeing it.

      Offhand, I can’t imagine it’d actually be radically cheaper to build and operate large mass transit systems in any large European cities than it would be in large American ones.

      • 0 avatar
        stingray65

        Here is one link that points to some research showing higher US costs:

        https://www.economist.com/blogs/gulliver/2012/09/public-transport-costs

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Thanks, but they’re paid articles…in any case, if we’re talking about things like American labor rules, I don’t see how those are any worse here than in Europe, which also has heavily unionized labor.

          And I don’t see how getting rid of anti-corruption rules makes costs lower.

          Do appreciate you posting those, though.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        You’d be surprised. Both construction and operational costs for transit projects are much higher here than in Europe.

        Operations is pretty much about higher salaries and benefits. The benefits are mostly things that the general government provides to everybody in European countries but that employers (including government employers) have to provide here.

        For construction, there are myriad reasons. Higher salaries and benefits is a small part of it; more restrictive labor work rules is a part; more local process is a part (European countries are largely unafraid to ram projects through); and stricter environmental and safety rules that result in more gold-plating of projects are a part. But even all those things don’t quite add up to the scale of the difference; there’s a piece that’s kind of a mystery. In some metros (cough, New York, Chicago), there’s probably an element of corruption that’s part of it.

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          For many years the D3 manufactured in Ontario because with our universal health care system, their benefits costs were much less than for their American workers.

          Many people tend to forget that universal healthcare and good public transit systems also subsidize employers because they allow them to have lower labour costs.

        • 0 avatar

          I think our legal system does a lot to drive the cost. You can’t have a road here in CT without someone suing.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    More anti-big-gubmint paranoia.

    The truth of the matter? If you love driving, you LOVE public transit, particularly if you’re in a place like Chicago. Without transit, that town would grind to a halt, along with the car you love to drive.

    That, or you can pay radically higher taxes to pave over large portions of where you live with freeways. For the record, I’ll call this the “L.A. Approach.” How’d it work for them?

    Pay for transit, or pay for roads…or pay with your time to sit for longer periods in traffic. It’s not “big gubmint” – it’s just common sense.

  • avatar
    dwford

    In my area we have no less than 3 overlapping public bus lines. Then on top of that we have the old people vans, the handicapped people vans, and the commuter shuttle vans from the suburbs. All heavily subsidized by the taxpayer, and all of the various people movers seem mostly empty most of the time. A giant waste of money.

    Now we are building new rail lines, because we need the heavily subsidized Metro North rail line to compete more with the heavily subsidized Amtrak on parallel tracks. But our bridges are a mess and we don’t have the money to fix them, so we just keep painting the parts of the I-beams that touch the support columns, while leaving the rest of the I-beam to rust.

    • 0 avatar

      Metro North runs 300,000 passengers a day in and out of the city from CT. You literally could not put them all on 95 without a multiday traffic jam.

      Amtrak runs at break even or a profit on the NE corridor. The rest of the country does require heavy subsidies.

      I live east of Hartford most buses are lightly loaded but during commuting hours many are 80-90,%full. The rest of the time it helps the poor and disabled get around which seems worth a subsidy.

      Basically CT needs to fix it’s roads but it can t afford to ignore mass transit either.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      “All heavily subsidized by the taxpayer”

      If government spent less time “subsidizing” billionaires, there would be more money for improving the lives of the middle and under class.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    Interesting. I literally just got home from three days in Chicago, where I used the CTA Blue Line and Uber. Blue line back and forth from the Loop to O’Hare (twice, because idiot me left his tablet at the hotel), and Uber about 10 times, including from the subway stations to and from my hotel. My Uber drivers were all perfectly nice middle-class American black folks driving either completely clean Camrys or Malibus, none older than a few years. This has been my experience in most major cities. Rarely have I had any sort of recent immigrant driver. I don’t entirely disagree that Uber is a bit of a scam on the drivers though. The Blue Line at least was pretty much terrific, with every trip taking significantly less time than the “time to the loop” display at the cab rank. Clean trains, a tad cold in the sub-20F weather but what can you do? $5 each way. Probably should be more considering what a cab costs. No homeless or in anyway undesirable people that I saw, just regular people of all ages. I have zero problem with taxing other methods to pay for the trains – as others have said, every person on a train is a person not clogging up the roads, so let the road users subsidize them more.

    Ultimately, the only reason I like Uber so much is that their e-mail receipts automagically go into my company expense system – I don’t have to mess with them, which saves me bother. If the driver is dumb enough so sign up for a bad deal, that’s on them. Most of them seem to enjoy it though, and I have had some great conversations with Uber drivers. I cannot say the same for cab drivers, who in my direct experience seem to actually be the recent immigrant types that Jack is complaining about and barely speak English. But harder working folk you will be hard pressed to find, so I certainly don’t hold it against them in any way. Are they getting a better deal (typically) leasing a cab and driving it? No idea, seems unlikely.

  • avatar
    heycarp

    Mass transit vs. masses of cars ?
    As long as evil exists – and it does.
    It will be far easier to commit violence & destruction – last week in NY – hell ; every week somewhere someone blows a bunch of people up. Just sayin ; harder to take out a bunch of cars.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      If I could have something close to El Al security on public transit I’d be more for it.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @heycarp – in 2016 there were 37,461 deaths from car accidents.

      As far as terrorism i.e. “somewhere someone blows a bunch of people up”:

      “More broadly, 3,066 Americans have been killed in terrorist attacks from 9/11/2001 through
      12/31/2014, including perpetrators and excluding deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq.
      o 2,961 of these deaths occurred on American soil.
      o 2,902 of these deaths occurred during the attacks on September 11, 2001”
      {2015 statistics}

      You are more likely to die in a car crash than you are to die from terrorism {That is if you do not count mass shootings by fellow Americans as a form of terrorism}

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      Then ban rental vans as they appear to be the major source of terrorism.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Toll roads FTW.

  • avatar
    Whittaker

    “Your talents may not be fully appreciated here,”

    Good call.
    Jack’s article was not an attack on mass transit. Some need to reread.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @Whittaker – “Jack’s article was not an attack on mass transit.”

      You mean this;

      “In the end, however, it was his throat that got cut. It’s a lesson that our modern would-be Caesars would do well to remember.”

      I thought JB and MB were supporters of Mr President!

  • avatar
    Luke42

    One of the things that JB doesn’t know about Chicago is that it’s the rail freight hub of North America.

    It’s also one of the major bottlenecks in the North American rail freight network.

    And, yes, fixing the bottlenecks is going to cost billions of dollars, some of which will have to come from the government.

    As someone who rides Amtrak to Chicago fairly regularly (it’s better than driving if you’re going to The Loop), the inefficiencies of the rail layout in downtown Chicago add at least 20 minutes to the trip every time, due to way they have to turn the train around. Amtrak trains have the highest priority of any train, but other rail traffic can still cause significant delays. Fraught trains sometimes wait on sidings for days to get through.

    This is a real problem which needs to be fixed.

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