Admittedly, I am not much for public transportation. While I recognize that such a mode of transportation can be good for the environment by bringing fewer vehicles into a metropolitan area, as a taxpayer, it’s a hard sale. Even so, if pushed, I can find a case to be made for a state/municipality to fund public transportation.
What I do not understand, however, is the federal government’s role in the issue. The boondoggle, otherwise known as Amtrak, is a drain on the public’s collective wallet.
New Jersey Transit does send some trains to New York City. We know the buses run across the rivers too. Local blogger Mark Krull likes to detail his commute to Philadelphia. Even so, I think it is a stretch to think the Commerce Clause kicks in here. Surely, New Jersey and Pennsylvania (or New York) can make arrangements to accommodate each other’s vehicles without the federal government.
Not according to New Jersey’s senators. Senator Menendez and Lautenberg have introduced a bill in the US Senate to spend another $2 billion. What would taxpayers receive for this additional tax? Lower fares for public transportation.
According to the Star~Ledger:
Since the start of last year, 84 percent of public transit systems in America have either hiked fares, slashed service or are considering one of the two.
This only furthers the argument against public transportation. Obviously, public transportation cannot sustain itself the way it is currently structured. That’s the problem with most government programs; they are not run efficiently.
Those entrenched in the government solve the problem by raising taxes. That’s what Menendez and Lautenberg seek to do. Others self examine. Is public transportation a program government should run? Perhaps it is. But if it continues to hemorrhage tax dollars, a fix needs to be found. Here in New Jersey, fares were raised.
I find it interesting that some politicians continue to pitch tax increases as the solution to problems. Obviously to the Garden State’s senators, they feel as though we are not taxed enough if they are comfortable asking for $2 billion.
What say you? Do you concur that you have more money in your wallet to send to Washington, D.C. to distribute to states to lower public transportation fees? How much slippage will occur with the feds involved?