Saturday, July 13, 2013

Leave no transit mode behind

Transit defeatists begone. From Streetfilms and noticed via @otiswhite...  see the neat video of how Salt Lake City is building out Light Rail AND Commuter Rail AND thinking comprehensively about transit. Note discussion of bike/ped trails.. and even BRT.  I bet their Downtown transit center is something more than a rationalized parking lot.

Salt Lake City: A Conservative State Builds Progressive Transit from Streetfilms on Vimeo.


Anonymous The Wiz said...

Perhaps the most critical part of the video comes at the very end when it is stated that the y are several years AHEAD OF SCHEDULE and millions of dollars UNDER BUDGET. That is the defining act of a "conservative mass transit system." Not run by unions, not run by corrupt politicians. If all systems were so correctly run maybe there would be less opposition to expanding them.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013 8:32:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I miss the old Wiz. The one who was occasionally funny, and at least checked facts before posting. FACT #1: The Amalgamated Transit Union represents Utah Transit Authority drivers, conductors, and maintenance employees. FACT #2: The UTA has a board, like the Port Authority, appointed by politicians. FACT #3: Utah has a 1/2 cent sales tax dedicated to transit. FACT #4: The UTA the provider of public transportation throughout the Wasatch Front of Utah, which includes the metropolitan areas of Ogden, Park City, Provo, Salt Lake City and Tooele. FACT #5: Most LDS chapels make their parking lots available as free park and ride lots.

So, from what I can tell, the real differences with PAT are that (A) the UTA has a dedicated source of revenue with which it can rationally plan long-term budgets and routes, (B) the UTA is regional, eliminating the troublesome Balkanization of government services we see here in Western Pennsylvania, and (C) the LDS church supports transit.

Yep. I guess those conservatives could really teach us an thing or two--like maybe how a small severance tax on natural gas extraction could have been dedicated to transit.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013 9:41:00 AM  
Anonymous The Wiz said...

Read again, please. I never siad that they didn't have unions or politicians involved. I said that the unions don't run the show or the nor are the politicians corrupt otherwise they would be years ahead of schedule and millions under budget.

And you always want more taxes and point to other states that have a severance tax. But Pa already has the highest corporate tax and a rolling stock/capital tax. I would support a severance tax on nat gas with two provisos.....reduce the aforementioned business taxes to that of other energy states and the severance tax rate be set by constitutional amendment. Otherwise, they will just keep raising the rate and handing out the goodies to buy more votes.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013 3:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First off, I'm not Chris, Wiz. You and I haven't met. So you don't know that I'm "always" arguing for higher taxes. You don't know me at all. More to the point, all I've pointed out is that the UTA gets dedicated sales tax revenue. No transit agency in PA has any dedicated tax revenue. That certainly allows better long-term planning than effectively making our transit agencies beg for year-to-year appropriations from Harrisburg. (Not to mention, the UTA luckily built into a recession, when costs for commodities crashed. You'll recall that the vast portion of the cost overruns for the Allegheny River Tunnel for PAT's "T" related to much more expensive steel and concrete--commodities whose cost was driven up by the demand of the global economy in the oughts).

Second, I really take issue with the "corruption" argument. Taxpayers pay PAT's bills; I'd like to know why the elected representatives of those taxpayers shouldn't appoint board members. And, I'd like to know one person who voted for a politician because of an appointment he or she made to the PAT board. Really? Most people I know are still grousing about the alcohol pour tax, not celebrating it . . . !

Third, you must realize that, while PA does have a high nominal corporate tax rate, PA's effective corporate tax rate is substantially lower, as it is heavily weighted to sales, and the financial and legal industries are exempt. It is really sleight of hand to compare nominal rates without looking at effective rates.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013 3:57:00 PM  

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