Trains For America

More choices for better transportation

UPDATED: A mirror into the soul

TFA does not normally cover local transit issues. Plenty of other great blogs do that well, and you can probably tell that we have our hands full on inter-city rail. Nonetheless, there is an item in today’s Dallas Morning News about getting to the new sports palace constructed at a cost of over $1 Billion to house Jerry Jones’ Cowboys. The focus is on Arlington’s complete failure on public transportation.

The lack of transit options in Arlington, population 365,000, is deliberate – and comes despite the best efforts of city leaders and regional planners.

Voters in the past three decades have rejected three initiatives that would have dedicated sales taxes to transit, including twice since 2002.

“They don’t want it,” said former Arlington Mayor Elzie Odom, who retired as mayor in 2003. “It doesn’t do any good to argue. We have done that three times. The residents who bother to go to the polls just won’t have it.”

Voters did approve the new stadium, which cost $1.1 billion and was paid for in part by a half-cent sales tax increase. Even the new stadium, and the traffic troubles that come with it, haven’t persuaded voters to think again about transit, he said.

“In the last two elections, I have heard over and over, “We don’t want those kinds of people.’ People say they just want to be let alone.”

Cluck said he has often heard residents opposed to transit cite worries about race or class as their reasons for voting no. But more often, he said, the complaints center on residents’ predictions that a transit system Arlington could afford would involve buses – and big empty ones at that.

UPDATE: I promise to get off this topic AND regular readers are due an explanation for why Mr. Nash and myself have been so absent. I promise to get around to some excuse making soon BUT this story in the Wall Street Journal is just too damn rich. Again, we don’t normally do transit here and would not cover this item except it is just too damn rich.

Brody Mullins reports on money and politics.

Protesters who attended Saturday’s Tea Party rally in Washington found a new reason to be upset: Apparently they are unhappy with the level of service provided by the subway system.

Rep. Kevin Brady called for a government investigation into whether the government-run subway system adequately prepared for this weekend’s rally to protest government spending and government services.

Seriously.

The Texas Republican on Wednesday released a letter he sent to Washington’s Metro system complaining that the taxpayer-funded subway system was unable to properly transport protesters to the rally to protest government spending and expansion.

So let me see if I got this straight. These people do everything they can to destroy transportation policy and funding on the national level. They consistently oppose any expansion of transit systems, even in the poorest areas. They vehemently oppose buses and light rail calling it a plot to take away people’s cars, BUT when they come to the nation’s capitol these tea-baggers expect the full scope of city services they otherwise detest.

Rich. Just lovely.

Filed under: Passenger Rail Transportatio Policy

16 Responses

  1. Andrew in Ezo says:

    Truly a mirror indeed- people willing to subsidize (to the tune of a BILLION dollars!) a private enterprise (NFL franchise), but not something that would actually benefit their fellow man, be it public transport, or (I’m afraid based on tenor of comments made) public health care. Thank God I live in Japan!

  2. HockeyFan says:

    $5, $10, $15 gas might change a few minds. Even dumb Cowboy fans.

  3. [...] Streetsblog Network member blog Trains for America highlights another story from the Dallas Morning News (also written by Lindenberger), this one [...]

  4. [...] Streetsblog Network member blog Trains for America highlights another story from the Dallas Morning News (also written by Lindenberger), this one [...]

  5. Allan says:

    I oppose taxpayer money going to build stadiums for wealthy sport teams. But they did vote on it and it passed.

    You left out this quote:

    “So far, it’s not been too terrible of a pain,” he said, noting that traffic has flowed more quickly in and out of the stadium during pre-season events than many had predicted.

    Obviously Arlington’s planners have been unable to convince the majority of the voters and why is that?

    The article attempts to make it racism but “… more often, he said, the complaints center on residents’ predictions that a transit system Arlington could afford would involve buses – and big empty ones at that.”

    That’s the issue. A city of 350,000 people (that’s not large) doesn’t want to buy and operate buses … much less buy into paying for a light rail system … that wouldn’t be used much by the local residents.

    As for $4 or $5/gal gasoline changing their minds, don’t count on it. As expensive as gasoline is in Europe, the overwhelming majority still drive.

    I live in Berlin, Germany for two year. It has one of the best, if not the best, public transit systems that I have ever experienced. But guess what, the roads were still clogged with cars. Germans love their cars as much, if not more, than Americans.

  6. [...] Special cognitive dissonance bonus: an item on the Wall Street Journal website about Tea Party protesters who went to Washington to complain about government spending of taxpayer money, and then were dissatisfied with the city's taxpayer-funded Metro (h/t Trains for America). [...]

  7. [...] Special cognitive dissonance bonus: an item on the Wall Street Journal website about Tea Party protesters who went to Washington to complain about government spending of taxpayer money, and then were dissatisfied with the city's taxpayer-funded Metro (h/t Trains for America). [...]

  8. [...] spending of taxpayer money, and then were dissatisfied with the city's taxpayer-funded Metro (h/t Trains for America). Some of them, apparently, even had to resort to the free-market taxi [...]

  9. [...] to railhead Pat Lynch for a discussion of recent Dallas reporting on Arlington, Texas. Voters there gave Jerry Jones a billion dollars for his new football stadium, [...]

  10. [...] Special cognitive dissonance bonus: an item on the Wall Street Journal website about Tea Party protesters who went to Washington to complain about government spending of taxpayer money, and then were dissatisfied with the city's taxpayer-funded Metro (h/t Trains for America). [...]

  11. Anonymous says:

    A few points…

    Allen:
    About your comments on Berlin — I live in New York City, in Manhattan in-fact, and I own a car.
    Many people do.
    But, I don’t *rely* on it.

    Few people are *opposed* to cars, and sometimes they really are the best option.
    If I want to drive to a friend in Brooklyn at 2am, I can spend an hour and a half on the subway, or I can drive there in 20 minutes.

    But I’m glad I have the option of good public transit.
    I lent my car to my sister for several months, and it barely phased me, it was a minor inconvenience, it just meant that when I had to leave the city I just took a commuter train or bus to where I was going.

    And, sadly, I think people are correct that public transit would accommodate the seedier elements of our society.
    It’s not a race thing, I don’t think it’s a class thing.
    The simple fact is, if you live in Texas and you can’t afford to drive, you’re poor, and you’re far more likely to be a criminal, a drug addict, or other loser that is a liability for society.

  12. Woody says:

    Anonymous — Your list of losers and liabilities for society is amusing short. You forgot the elderly, many of whom have had to give up driving for health reasons, or their ungrateful kids have taken away the keys. Anyway, the sooner we can pack their shriveled up and obsolete bodies off to the rest home — out of sight, out of mind — the better for the rest of us, I’m sure. And other disabled persons as well, those too blind, too deaf, too mentally deficient, too diseased, or too crippled to drive. If we could store them out of sight as well, ah, we can dream, can’t we? And the non-criminal poor are so often fat and ugly — there’s just no getting around it. Due to their poverty, they don’t have the money to shop for healthy and nutritious stuff at Whole Foods. The poor won’t, or at least don’t, go to the gyms to exercise. They get so fat it’s a wonder they even fit into a bus seat, much less a car seat. Don’t let them get up too close, please, because their dental care, or lack thereof leaves them often snaggle-toothed and gap-toothed, and to have to look at their mouths is simply disgusting.

    Anonymous, I grew up in Texas, went to school there, and escaped as soon as I could. But I still go back there for weeks and months at a time to take care of my aged mother. From my own observation and belief, the amount of racism, class prejudice, and simple hatred of the poor in my home state is more than someone living in Manhattan can even imagine.

  13. The article attempts to make it racism but “… more often, he said, the complaints center on residents’ predictions that a transit system Arlington could afford would involve buses – and big empty ones at that.” Thanks for sharing.

  14. nndb says:

    I live in Berlin, Germany for two year. It has one of the best, if not the best, public transit systems that I have ever experienced. But guess what, the roads were still clogged with cars. Germans love their cars as much, if not more, than Americans.

  15. nndb says:

    The simple fact is, if you live in Texas and you can’t afford to drive, you’re poor, and you’re far more likely to be a criminal, a drug addict, or other loser that is a liability for society.

  16. patlynch says:

    Or, if you can’t afford to drive, you might be like the rest of us. You might be praying the price of gasoline does not go any higher, or wondering how you will pay the insurance, or hoping you do not need a major repair. Or, you might be disabled or elderly. But above all, let’s make sure there is no alternate choice for the working poor (the criminal class by some definitions) or the (deadbeat) middle class.

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