'Blame Bush' Strategy Failed Yesterday

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So says Reason Contributing Editor John Hood, in an election round-up for the Carolina Journal. Also, "in two of the three large U.S. cities that had mass-transit projects on the ballot for voter approval, voters said no."

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  1. Here in ole’ KY, Patton sunk the gubernatorial Bismark that is the Democratic party in these parts all by his lonesome. Can’t say I’m sorry to see them gone.

    I despise local politics. Has anyone else noticed that a ‘good’ local politician is measured by how many federal dollars he can get funneled into local boondoggles? Ugh.

  2. I live in Houston and I’m surprised that the light rail decision was carried. I certainly didn’t expect 51% of the voters to say yes. It has been a controversial subject in this city, particularly when you see the amount of road construction here. With the love of Houstonians for their cars, I’m amazed that anybody voted for it at all. My own opinion is that if they are going to use rail here, they need to get serious about it and have it running along side the major freeways (59, 10, 45), not just from Downtown to the Medical District (who does that help?). They also need to try and fix the roads one at a time, instead of having construction crews on every major road in town at once — that can’t be helping the traffic situation.

  3. not just from Downtown to the Medical District

    Yeah, Buffalo, NY did something like that…spent millions on a “subway” system whose only line ran from the north-east boundary towards downtown through the worst neighborhoods in the city. It had two palpable effects, one of which was to kill off all the businesses downtown, and the other was to give labor unions their own personal money vacuum.

    Ten years ago the council was trying to figure out the reason for the city’s brain drain. Nobody thought to bring a mirror.

    Be careful of mass transit projects, they’re traditionally pork-infested union-friendly exercises that are ultimately designed to benefit its constructors without concern for whether it will benefit its users.

  4. Adam,

    “They also need to try and fix the roads one at a time, instead of having construction crews on every major road in town at once — that can’t be helping the traffic situation.”

    Not helping the traffic situation is part of the point. First give out lots of contracts to buy votes – I mean repair lots of roads – the use the resulting traffic problems as justifcation to buy more votes – I mean hand out lucrative contacts to build light rail.

  5. “Be careful of mass transit projects, they’re traditionally pork-infested union-friendly exercises that are ultimately designed to benefit its constructors without concern for whether it will benefit its users.”

    The exact same thing can be said for road projects.

    Jesus H. Christ, you’ll all be wishing for mass transit when the gummint takes your driving priveleges away.

  6. Say, anon at 3:32 – most road projects result in roads that are packed with travellers (i.e., that benefit end-users). Sadly, the same cannot be said for many mass transit projects, which tend to be chronically underused.

  7. Transportation projects of any sort induce demand. But road projects are usually the result of reactions to existing congestion, and neglect to look at their long term effects on development and travel behavior. Thus, they usually reach capacity very quickly (if, indeed, they have any extra capacity the day they open). Most transit projects are the result of long term planning, and make the transit’s influence on development patterns a primary goal. Thus, it takes longer for demand to reach the system’s capacity.

    If a train can get you downtown in 20 minutes where it takes 40 by car (and costs more), you’re going to see development (or redevelopment) around the train station.

  8. r.c.

    That’s b.s. The busses and trains I ride are generally filled in rush hour, exactly when the roads are choked. They’re underused at the same time the roads are underused.

  9. I think the idea of making a statehouse election into a referendum on the president is a losing tactic. Congressional elections can be nationalized, but governors? People think of local issues when they vote for gov, not the national debt, national security, or the national economy.

  10. OTOH, it seems odd to blame an incumbent state governor for a nation-wide economic slump.

  11. Great, now pols will learn NOT to put mass transit to a vote. I advise pitchforks……

  12. You can’t even make the election about the governor, as they learned in New Jersey.

  13. Great, now pols will learn NOT to put mass transit to a vote. I advise pitchforks……

  14. The thing that sucks about mass transit projects losing in two out of three big U.S. cities is that I live the other one, Houston. D’oh!

  15. Another way of saying “two of the three” is “fifty percent plus one.” I wouldn’t write transit’s obit yet, Mr. Taylor.

  16. Libertarians just have to arrange to have the Simpsons Monorail episode shown the Monday before any bond issue referendum on mass transit.

    “Their celebrity was Gallagher!”

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