Monday, August 1, 2011

The Washington Post's Selective Transit Austerity

$140 million for the Columbia Pike streetcar that would give people a cheap, less-polluting way to get to work and draw people to a sorely under-utilized area? A waste of money! Spend it on something else instead! Anything! Like, uh, how about education? Clearly, if you support the Columbia Pike streetcar, you must hate kids!

$110 million to upgrade just one road interchange for drivers (Route 29 & Gallows Road in Merrifield), while leaving it insufficient for pedestrians and bike commuters? Still waiting to hear from the Washington Post editorial board on how that could be better spent on schools. Should be any day now.

My point is not that Columbia Pike streetcar is more worthy of funds than the Route 29 interchange. My point is that maybe at a time of crazy low interest rates when a lot of people need work, we should be doing every project we can. By the time we need to start paying it back, the economy will have recovered - and if it hasn't, we're screwed anyway.

And if you have to resort to "but what if we spent it on free health care for puppies instead?" to make your argument, maybe you should re-think your case.
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