Friday, July 1, 2016

Who’d a-thunk it? Government subsidizes inefficient light rail and penalizes efficient free-market alternatives?

From Mark Perry.
"From the article “North Carolina’s Light Rail System a New Poster Boy for Cronyism” by Greg Pulscher (emphasis mine)
Say you need to get from point A to point B. Taking the shortest distance between the two is typically the one most traveled and most desired. Google Maps tends to think so too, though the app does sometimes offer nonsensical routes. Sometimes I find myself asking Google Maps, “Why would you ask me to drive 30 min out of my way?” Perhaps you have done the same. Which is the reason you and I should be asking the North Carolina legislature why they want to waste our time and money by suggesting slower alternate means of transportation. Unlike Google simply suggesting other routes, the legislature is subsidizing slower routes while preventing faster routes from even existing.
North Carolinians’ taxes are subsidizing “light rail” — billion-dollar alternate routes in CharlotteDurham, and Chapel Hill. The legislature is embracing mass-transit subsidies while at the same time pushing new rules to charge ride-sharing companies such as Uber $5,000 annual fees just to operate.
The contrast is striking: legislators on one hand force taxpayers to subsidize wildly expensive and inefficient light rail lines while imposing charges on wildly popular, affordable, and efficient transportation alternatives developed by free-market entrepreneurs.
Just last week, a story out of Charlotte highlighted how consumers are choosing ride sharing over light rail due to speed, affordability, and convenience. It should come as no surprise that a service offering freedom from walking along dangerous routes, waiting in the rain, figuring out connectors, and finding your stop is outperforming a behemoth billion-dollar state project that provides none of that."

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