Streetsblog: Why should conservatives support public transportation?
Glen Bottoms: We have three main reasons that we pitch to other conservatives. One is that we must reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Right now 90 percent of recoverable oil is controlled by foreign governments, most of which don’t wish us very well. Second is economic development. We’ve found that using streetcars in cities downtown spawns development. And third is that conservatives are traditional. Streetcars are a way to preserve neighborhoods by effectively promoting neighborhood cohesion and vitality.
ding ding ding ding. We have a winner.
Car companies like to portray that their product equates to freedom. It is a simple notion, that you can get in your car and drive wherever you want. Because it is a simple notion, it plays well with the idiot wing of the conservative party (of which Lind and Bottoms are not members).
The problem arises when all of our spending favors car travel that we are all literally forced to drive and that is the only acceptable and/or practical means of transportation. As we posted yesterday, they quite like that monopoly, thank you. However, 1) monopolies hardly fit in the conservative notion of market/competition-driven free market capitalism. 2) Gas taxes only pay for about half of our roads, the rest come out of taxes. 3) Gas is subsidized and the true cost is somewhere between $6 and $16/gallon (if you factor in military spending to secure oil). 4) Our gas spending predominantly goes to unstable foreign regimes.
So, in sum, we have no CHOICE in transportation, we are taxed excessively, we bail out auto industry, we support foreign dictatorships and presumably indirectly fund terrorism, and we drive budgets into the red. How is ANY of that conservative?