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Friday, February 17, 2012

It's not "grassroots" to hate public transport -- it's just another Tea Party Platform

MONDAY, FEB 13, 2012 1:00 PM EST
The Tea Party’s war on mass transit

House Republicans try to gut federal funds for subways as they extend the culture wars to urban policy issues

In the week since House Republicans introduced their proposed transportation bill, one thing has become clear: It has virtually nothing to do with fiscal responsibility.

The Tea Party soared to power on the notion that it was the antidote to wasteful government spending. It’s now clear that reigniting the culture wars was a top priority, too. From guns to abortion, the extremist wing of the Republican Party has fought to turn back the clock on many socially progressive ideals.

Mass transit is its newest target.

“Federal transportation and infrastructure policy has traditionally been an area of strong bipartisan agreement,” says Aaron Naparstek, a Loeb Fellow at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design and founder of “Now, it seems, Republicans want to turn cities into a part of the culture wars. Now it’s abortion, gay marriage and subways.”

House Republicans seek to eliminate the Mass Transit Account from the federal Highway Trust Fund. The Mass Transit Account is where public transportation programs get their steady source of funding. Without it, transit would be devastated, and urban life as we know it could become untenable.

And there’s the rub. “The Tea Party leaders and the Republicans who pander to them do not care about cost-effectiveness in the slightest,” wrote blogger Alon Levy in a comment about the bill on the Transport Politic. “They dislike transit for purely cultural and ideological reasons.” To the Tea Party, transit smacks of the public sector, social engineering and alternative lifestyles.

read more here


  1. Recently had the pleasure of visiting Wash DC and using their Metro system. Their Union Station was my hub point. It is a marvelous multi-modal station linking Amtrak, two local railroads (Maryland and Virginia) as well as the Metro subway system. It is a bustling center used by all demographics...working commuters, tourists, longer distance travelers (NY to Wash, popular route), the young, old, and all ages in-between. It was obviously lucrative for private enterprise as well, having shops (Victoria's Secret, Chicos, Barnes and Nobles, to name only a few), food court, restaurants (Au Bon Pain, Chipoltes, fancy sit-down ones, too) all housed in a beautiful, atmospheric and historic train station.

    I cannot believe our government would be so short-sighted as to de-fund mass transit transportation. Sure, private enterpise can subsidize the profitable transit centers, but only the government can support the infrasturture.

  2. I remember when tea party people advocated against a sales tax increase in STL for Metro. Metro had failed to get Prop M passed and had to cut transit. So about two years later they try and get Prop A passed and tea party came out to encourage people to vote against it. But they didn't raise enough money because the Busch stadium donated a million because the light rail train is heavily used for cards games.

    The tea party argued that Metro had made many bad decisions recently and that a sales tax increase would only encourage more of the same rather than real improvements.

    Prop A passed because it wasn't during an election year like Prop M.

    Two years later, it turns out the tea party of stl was right. Metro has been wasting funding on art projects to make Metro look hipster but not really improving service. Now they are increasing ticket prices and claim that this has been part of their "moving forward" plan all along (they deceived voters).

    The tea party may be the dumbest group of people out there, but there are times when they do have a point.