Jerry Brown

California Gov. Jerry Brown Called Gas Tax Opponents 'Freeloaders.' Now He's Spending Billions of Their Money to Fund Transit They Don't Use.

$2.4 billion of new gas tax revenue will go to light rail and electric bus networks.

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Xinhua/Sipa USA/Newscom

When California Gov. Jerry Brown was defending SB 1—last year's transportation funding package, which included $5.4 billion in annual gas tax and vehicle registration fee increases—he had an uncharitable term for his opponents: freeloaders.

"The freeloaders—I've had enough of them," he said at an Orange County event. "Roads require money to fix." The state was strapped for cash, he argued; drivers needed to pay up, lest the roads and highways devolve into gravel paths.

That argument didn't carry much water then, given that Golden State motorists were already paying some of the highest gas taxes in the nation. It certainly doesn't carry much water now that we have a firmer picture of where this new money is going.

On Thursday, the state's Transportation Agency announced grant recipients for some $2.6 billion of the transit funding raised by SB 1. The awards include $28.6 million for 40 zero-emission buses in Anaheim and $40.5 million for light-rail vehicles in Sacramento. Los Angeles snagged $330 million to build out its rail transit network in preparation for the 2028 Olympics.

A total of 28 projectswere awarded SB 1 money. None of them involves road upkeep at all.

The grants were supposed to be announced on April 30. Carl DeMaio, a former San Diego city councilman (and former contractor for the Reason Foundation, which publishes this website), thinks the announcement was bumped up for a political reason: The governor knew that on Friday activists looking to overturn SB 1 and all its tax and fee increases would start submitting signatures to place a repeal initiative on the November ballot.

"The governor is using the entirety of the government infrastructure to go out and hold press conferences to say everything but vote no on the gas tax [repeal]," says DeMaio, who is leading the repeal effort.

He has a point. The Transportation Agency's list of awards comes with a prominent SB 1 logo right at the top. The state government also runs a website rebuildingca.ca.gov, which describes SB1 in such neutral terms as "landmark transportation investment" and "job creator."

Democrats in the state legislature have been happy to play up this angle as well. At a press conference yesterday, Sen. Jim Beall (D–San Jose) summed up SB 1 repeal's effects on transit projects in his district: "Poof! It all goes away."

Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) dismissed critics of SB 1 as fringe loonies yesterday, telling the Los Angeles Times that "local Republican leaders around the state were an important part of the SB 1 coalition, so I'm not sure how the more radical members of the party will be reconciling that in their attacks."

"This gas tax is not about fixing roads," DeMaio counters. "It about the ongoing assault against the car."

The hostility of California's climate-conscious, transit-obsessed politicians to traditional automobile travel is no secret. Gov. Jerry Brown has suggested banning all gas-powered cars. Los Angeles' explicit policy is to reduce the number of vehicle miles traveled.

SB 1's spending priorities reflect this. $100 million of the state's road funding is dedicated to "active transportation"—i.e., bike lanes, sidewalks, and recreational trails. Bike lanes built with these funds often come paired with the destruction of existing car lanes, which merely adds to the California drivers' woes. Meanwhile, about 1 percent of the state's trip takers use bikes.

Another $200 million in annual road funding is allotted in "self-help" funds to counties that have increased sales taxes to fund transportation. That would make Los Angeles County eligible, as its voters passed a sales tax hike for that purpose in 2016. The county's spending plan adopts a "multi-modal" approach, meaning those sales tax dollars and "self-help" funds can easily work their way into mass transit projects.

A $250 million congested corridor relief program is similarly prohibited from being spent on adding traditional highway lane miles.

Meanwhile, taxpayers have little reason to believe that the $2.8 billion in SB1 money that is specifically earmarked for highway and local road maintenance will be spent wisely. According to a report by the Reason Foundation, California spends $84,005 per mile to maintain its highways, compared to a national average of $28,020—while ranking 46th in the quality of its urban highways.

A basic principle of transportation funding is that users should pay for the infrastructure they use. A gas tax in theory fits the bill by collecting money from the motorists, truck drivers, and transit buses to pay for the roads they drive on. California apparently prefers to spending its gas tax dollars and vehicle registration fees to pay for modes of transportation the motorists don't use.

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  1. If other taxes were cut and gas taxes raised to make up for the shortfall, I might see the logic – making people pay more depending on how much they use the govt ROADZ.

    But (a) they’re not cutting any other taxes and (b) it seems they’re earmarking the taxes for trains.

    1. But, automobile users are getting a yuuge subsidy, don’t you know.

      1. I imagine you are being sarcastic. I love when they do bring that up cause when you reply that the subsidy cars get is around a penny per passenger mile. Then they start sputttering crap about the Positive Externalites that of course can’t be measured by any accurate model.

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  2. Those ‘freeloaders’ want gas taxes and taxpayer money to mainly be spent on US and state constitutional public duties like roads. Commifornia roads suck.

    If 100% of gas taxes went to roads, then you might have some kind of distopian beef with those people that use roads but don’t pay for them. Like out-of-staters.

    1. Those ‘freeloaders’ want gas taxes and taxpayer money to mainly be spent on US and state constitutional public duties like roads

      It goes beyond that in sheer dishonesty, actually. The roads, for the most part, are actually maintained by local municipalities or, lacking a local municipality, the local county.

      State-level gas taxes only go to fix state-maintained roads, which means state highways and interstates. They are not going to come fix the neighborhood potholes in any circumstance.

      So this program is already bleeding money away from local needs, and then the money is being diverted even from the state-level needs it’s supposedly being stolen to cover in order to pay for things no one needs at all and almost no one uses.

      1. This is California where a single metro area can have more residents than most states and cover 5+ counties. Freeways crisscross everywhere and they’re largely maintained by the state.

        Your argument works only the lower-density Eastern and far-Northern counties where there isn’t enough money to pay for things like the Grapevine, which is largely used to connect Sacramento and the agricultural areas to Southern California.

        1. I’m 47 and have lived in California my whole life, and my family has been here since the ’20s.

          You say two things about CA metro areas, but then ignore one of them:

          1) “a single metro area can have more residents than most states”

          and

          2) “and cover 5+ counties”

          Los Angeles has the second largest population of any city in the country, but it is not dense. The famous problem with mass transit in LA and CA generally has always been the sprawl. There is no place from which people en masse want to get to another one place en masse. LA came into being because of and alongside cars, which is why it is shaped the way it is.

          There is exactly one city in CA dense enough to support viable mass transit: SF. And exactly one city in CA already has a viable mass transit system – SF.

          The freeways that “crisscross everywhere” largely overlap pre-existing roadways that were appropriated by the state under Moonbeam, Sr, in the 60s.

          So, no – my argument doesn’t work for “only the lower-density Eastern and far-Northern counties where there isn’t enough money to pay for things like the Grapevine.” In fact, that works counter to your point, not mine.

          1. Los Angeles has the second largest population of any city in the country, but it is not dense.

            Wrong.

            1. Wrong.

              He said city, your link is about metropolitan areas. Kind of a big difference. Here is by incorporated city.

              Incorporated ………..Metro Area ……..State ……. Pop/mile^2
              1 Guttenberg …….(New York City) New Jersey .. 57,116.00
              2 Union City ……..(New York City) New Jersey .. 51,810.10
              3 West New York (New York City) New Jersey .. 49,362.40
              4 Hoboken ……….(New York City) New Jersey .. 39,066.40
              5 Kaser ……………(New York City) New York …… 27,788.20
              6 New York City ..(New York City) New York …… 27,016.30
              7 Cliffside Park …(New York City) New Jersey … 24,577.10
              8 East Newark ….(New York City) New Jersey … 24,060
              9 Maywood ……… (Los Angeles) . California …… 23,216.10
              10 Passaic …….. (New York City) New Jersey … 22,437.60

          2. Buses work just find in small towns and are financially feasible. I’m not sure where you’re getting this. I can buy the argument for rail, but not for buses. They’ve been used for a 100 years for mass transit without issues.

        2. CA has about 16,000 miles of state highway – of which about 4,000 or so is urban. There’s about 120,000 miles of local roads – with a much higher % of that urban than state highways are.

          Problem with funding that via a gas tax is that prob 100% (x tule fog) of the congestion is urban so everyone thinks that’s where their gas tax should be spent. But it has to be spent maintaining the entire state road system – and afaik only 1/2 of the tax is allocated to local/county (so it ain’t enough to maintain local roads). Expanding that highway system in urban areas is multiples more expensive than expanding a rail/HOV-type system in urban areas (which could be elevated over highways or use abandoned freighttrack RoW’s).

          What CA should be doing (for the state portion of those taxes) is focusing on rail or other HOV type stuff – but VERY differently than they currently do. What they should be doing is making decisions like a landowner of an infrastructure network – not a monopolist bureaucrat operator of transit. The rail lines that exist could prob accommodate 10x more traffic than they have – and new stations/connections/depots each add to a network effect. But as long as bureaucrats want to run highspeed choochoo trains that respond to social signals, they will find many ways to waste money.

          Ultimately CA gets exactly what they deserve. Unfortunately, CA of all political stripes are also assholes when they move to my state – so I hope they fix things enough so they stay there.

          1. “What CA should be doing (for the state portion of those taxes) is focusing on rail or other HOV type stuff – but VERY differently than they currently do.”

            I see your brain is still missing.

            1. It’ll be different this time! You’ll see!

    2. Except that out-of-staters buy gas while they are driving in-state. Or else their stays instate are so short that they are not wearing out the roads to any significant degree.

      That is except for long haul truckers who get charged due to regulations.

      1. If you’re an out-of-stater and drive into Commifornia in Teslas, you get free electricity and don’t pay gas tax.

        I purposely pay to fly into Reno and Vegas to avoid Commifornia costs while using shitty roads to visit family.

        Its almost like Taxifornia is paying ME to visit my relatives. Hahaha all the way to bank.

      2. I paid $4 a gall while i was out there recently. What a bunch of crooks.

  3. “The freeloaders?I’ve had enough of them”

    Tax-payers are free-loaders because they don’t voluntarily open their wallets and let the State take whatever it wants? You can’t get much clearer than that in expressing the opinion that the individual exists to serve the State and that anything you’re allowed to keep for yourself is a gift from the State.

  4. Fuck you, governor. You spend my money on everything but the “roads”

    The gas tax takes in plenty of fucking money to do everything needed, except you use that money to fund things that are NOT roads. Bullshit light rail and bike lanes… you actively want to make traffic WORSE so people drive less.

    Tell me another state that has this problem, that’s not a bastion of leftism.

    Leave it up to the leftists to use your money to actively make things worse off, then say they need more money to fix the god damned problem they created. But no, keep voting these corrupt assholes into office.

  5. Ben Shapiro says this so well — conservatives and libertarians too often make efficiency arguments, but the leftists like Brown don’t give a shit about that. Instead you need to make a moral argument.

    Gas taxes are supposed to be for roads. Increasing my gas tax and using the benefits of that for people who do not pay the gas tax is immoral. Taxing driving to pay for your love of trains or light rail or public sector unions is immoral. Using a tax that maintains our road infrastructure and siphoning that off for your preferred things because you would rather make traffic worse, is immoral.

    I live in San Jose, and Californian’s get exactly what they fucking deserve. I have no sympathy when people I know bitch about high home prices or the gas tax increase or whatever, because they vote for these people and elections have consequences.

    1. Efficient mass transit reduces congestion and road maintenance. That’s an efficiency argument for how mass transit benefits drivers.

      Air pollution increases medical costs. Gas-powered vehicles create air pollution. That is an externality that isn’t covered by the cost of gas. Using gas taxes to fund less-polluting transportation methods is a way to capture the cost of that externality and charge it to the consumer.

      I think it’s funny that you ascribe “moral arguments” to leftists and not to conservatives. As if Bible-based laws are based on “efficiency arguments.” The right just moralizes in its own way. Libertarians moralize about taxes continuously. They treat The Market like it’s a religion. Everybody moralizes in their own way.

      1. ^ I was going to say exactly this, but I was going to mean it satirically.

        1. He seems very emphatic. And they say passion is dead.

      2. Except people do not want to use mass transit. Please find me the person who can’t really wait to take BART or the SF Muni. They only take it because driving has been made so costly they can’t afford not to, which is exactly the point. These leftists would ban cars outright if they could, except for themselves.

        You know what’s bad for the environment, sitting in traffic. Instead of making more highway lanes or more highways, they would prefer traffic be high so people use their beloved light rail and trainz.

        And yes, it is immoral to say, hey we need to fix the roads, give us more money, and use they money for not fixing the fucking roads.

        1. Exactly how is owning a car in SF more expensive than elsewhere? The city is 7×7 miles. Car trips are darned short but there are nearly 1 million people in those 49 square miles on any given day. You simply cannot widen the streets to accommodate more cars without removing housing.

          More lanes != faster traffic. I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but the data backs it up. Long haul travel along the central valley of California won’t improve by adding more lanes to what is already something like a 12 lane freeway. You can get more people through that area faster on rails which reduces congestion on the Grapevine for everyone else.

          Reducing congestion “fixes” one of the problems. Trains reduce congestion.

          1. Dude – your research abilities are a little half-assed. You couldn’t make it more obvious that you don’t live here.

            Exactly how is owning a car in SF more expensive than elsewhere?

            This is a classic question, with a classic answer that everyone in SF already knows.

            This is why, as I mentioned, SF has as mass transit system that formed largely organically because having a car in SF is not pragmatic.

            Long haul travel along the central valley of California won’t improve by adding more lanes to what is already something like a 12 lane freeway.

            And this is where you prove you’ve never been the Central Valley.

            You’ve got two options for traversing the Valley north-south: I5 and SR99. I5 has two lanes each direction, and SR99 goes through a series of small cities and is mostly two lanes each direction between them. Both clog regularly.

            I5 desperately needs at least one more lane in each direction, and there are no buildings in site for most of its length. In fact, it has a rather large median strip that could provide extra lanes without even acquiring more land.

            But you would have to be interested in this problem to know these things, rather than just being into being a partisan.

            1. And this is where you prove you’ve never been the Central Valley.

              I’ve never been a geographic feature, either. *kicks rock*

          2. ‘I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but the data backs it up. ”

            So present the data.

            1. How quaint.

          3. Dude, I live in Georgia and I pay zero in parking fees every day. Zero. That is one example of how San Fran is more expensive than other locales.

      3. “Efficient mass transit reduces congestion and road maintenance. That’s an efficiency argument for how mass transit benefits drivers.
        Air pollution increases medical costs. Gas-powered vehicles create air pollution. That is an externality that isn’t covered by the cost of gas. Using gas taxes to fund less-polluting transportation methods is a way to capture the cost of that externality and charge it to the consumer.”

        VERY funny.

        1. Ahh yes the externality argument. Something that cannot be quantified so it is believed can’t be argued against.

    2. “Ben Shapiro says this so well — conservatives and libertarians too often make efficiency arguments, but the leftists like Brown don’t give a shit about that. Instead you need to make a moral argument.”

      The defense of capitalism and the critique of socialism and interventionalism on the basis of morality was made early and consistently by Ayn Rand.

  6. This is a specious argument.

    1) The people who pay gas taxes for better roads want roads that are smooth and not overcrowded. Spending the gas tax on paving and reducing congestion meets both those goals even if that means congestion is reduced through public transportation.

    2) While it’s fun to watch libertarians ricochet between “no taxes” and “data driven decisions,” the bottom line here is that the data supports mass transit along congested corridors as a more effective way to reduce that congestion.

    3) Since time is money, the less time you spend on congested California freeways, the richer you are.

    1. No, most people do not want to take public transit. The left is purposely keeping roads shitty to ‘nudge’ people into using their preferred method for the masses to use (but not themselves). If public transit was so popular, it wouldn’t need a government subsidy.

      I’m pretty sure all the time spent in traffic is bad for the environment. But instead of expanding supply, like always, their solution is to restrict it to make the price so high that most people can’t afford to drive. Just look at San Francisco.

      1. You’re seriously making the argument that people in the LA area would rather drive half a day North on the 5 to get to Sacramento in crappy traffic than take a high speed train? Seriously?

        Speaking of SF, BART is so crowded the system is overwhelmed with people wanting to ride it up and down the peninsula. People don’t like taking *busses* but subways and trains are just fine. People on the East coast take trains to work all the time.

        Public transit has a high up-front construction cost. Rails are easier and cheaper to maintain over years than paved roads. You do realize the roads are subsidized too, right?

        Rapid mass transit on congested commuter routes *is* expanding supply. The data is clear that in these cases, widening the roads doesn’t work. In places like Los Angeles, you can’t expand the roads without tearing down buildings but you can build subways that avoid traffic entirely and are much faster than driving.

        1. Since the data is SO convincingly clear, you could just post the data. It would be quicker, and I’d love to see it.

          1. UC Davis
            UCLA
            VOX on the 405

            That should get you on the right track. I’m sure you’re resourceful enough to trace these back to any raw data if you’re that interested in it.

            1. I’m not. If convincing people were easy, it wouldn’t be such an accomplishment.

              If I wanted to “get on the right” track – I notice that “right” coincides with agreeing with you, do you read Nietzsche? – I would already read Vox, the National Center For Sustainable Transportation, and the opinions of UCLA professors writing their opinions. I do not, so for efficiency’s sake let’s assume that I’m an unright person and yet completely unaware of it, such that the best way to persuade me is to act as if there’s nothing wrong with me – even though there obviously is – and attempt to reason with me through the neutral ground of raw data.

              Thanks.

              1. What, politicized, shot-from-the-hip speculations on opinion pages don’t convince you? I suppose there’s just no point in trying, then.

                1. When he gets asked for data that proves what he says, he provided that.

                  That pretty much says it all.

                  1. Numbers =/= data and data =/= an argument. These pieces have their conclusions baked into their “analyses.”

                  2. Ok, so I read articles.

                    The first one is a policy paper, the 2nd and 3rd are opinion pieces. None are research papers, and of the very few examples of actual “research” given, there is nothing definitive.

                    Hell, the 2nd paper is a gross misunderstanding by a writer generalizing an economic observation related to coal over to traffic behavior. A moment’s consideration will lead you to understand why that’s a waste of time.

                    If that was your case, you failed.

              2. I like blue Hihn.

            2. Alright, you don’t know what you’re talking about, and you’ve proven it.

              Doubling road volume does lead to more people driving, but it doesn’t lead to a doubling of overall driving time, that’s preposterous. Number of drivers increases less than total road volume, so you get botbmore drivers AND less congestion.

              This is just left wing innumeracy deployed to justify more trains. In order for the number of drivers to increase enough to consume additional roadage entirely without reducing density, there would have to be an infinite number of drivers, or at least a finite number who want to spend their entire lives in traffic.

              Try critical thinking.

        2. Yes, I am saying this, as a San Jose resident that frequently (8-10 times a year) drives down to Southern California. I would rather drive down there they take that fucking train. That you even call it ‘high speed’ is laughable. It is going to cost more money and take more time then to fly, so if I didn’t want the convenience of driving, I would fly instead of taking that train.

          Roads being subsidized are a myth, it is your beloved public transportation that is subsidized. Only in your world can you call a user fee (gas taxes) going to what is being used (roads), a subsidy. Gas takes pay for roads and money is siphoned off that for public transportation. Subways, BART, etc, never recoup their costs.

          People prefer to take roads, and we need to build out supply as the population increases. Leftists used to understand this. Highways 85, 87, and 237 in the Bay Area were built for that exact purpose.

          And yes, you do need to ‘tear down buildings’ to expand roads. How exactly do you think all the roads came to be in the first place?

          1. As an SF resident who drives to SoCal several times a year to see family, I WISH I could take the train. BART doesn’t even go to San Jose. But you’re referring to AMTRAK, which is a horrid beast and not what the state is building in the central valley. They’re building an actual high-speed train that will connect LA to Sacramento.

            Road subsidies are a myth? Oh. You might want to investigate that more. Here’s another mind-blower for you: the money you and I pay to register our vehicles and the gas taxes we pay subsidizes the big 5th wheel trucks that do far more damage to the roads than all the passenger cars combined. We subsidize their road use and make their business more competitive against rail haulers. Ironic, right?

            The government buying housing in San Francisco to tear it down and widen the roads is a huge-ass subsidy. You can’t be serious. I think you’re pulling my leg.

            1. As an SF resident who drives to SoCal several times a year to see family, I WISH I could take the train.

              Bullshit. If this were true, you would know that I5 is two lanes all the way from Tracy to Grapevine.

              But you’re referring to AMTRAK, which is a horrid beast and not what the state is building in the central valley.

              Please explain why this time the government-run trains will be different.

              The government buying housing in San Francisco to tear it down and widen the roads is a huge-ass subsidy.

              Good thing no one here’s advocating that, then.

            2. Caltrain goes to San Jose. ITs a local train so it stops at every city along the way.

            3. Road subsidies are practically nothing in terms of per passenger mile. Around a penny per passenger mile. Rail both light and heavy rail are between 20-60 cents per passenger mile.

              1. That’s a chicken-egg prob. Subsidies for a transport network are always a combo of three very different things:

                Capital/operating costs of the network itself and the underlying land
                Capital costs of the transport vehicles that can use that network
                Operating costs of the transport vehicles that use that network

                For roads – govt only manages/pays for the first one. And that is also what they should do for alternative transport networks. But until a network is actually complete enough so that you can go from here to there, then no one will use it. For urban areas what is needed is for those alternative networks to EXIST and to be connected. So that you can go from here to there – just like highways.

                Govts and public sector unions spend far too much trying to monopolize the operations of those networks – and far too little actually re-creating (see Pacific Electric and LA Railway) the widespread HOV-type network and depot/stations – and then selling access to privately-owned carpools/vans/buses/etc.

                Where the freeway runs in Los Angeles is where the Red Car used to be. The fucked up part is that they spent tons of public money constructing the freeways – and shut down the alternative that already existed. LA and their pols deserve each other

        3. You’re seriously making the argument that people in the LA area would rather drive half a day North on the 5 to get to Sacramento in crappy traffic than take a high speed train?

          Your question presupposes that 1) this train will ever be finished, and 2) that it will, in fact, be “high-speed,” both of which assume facts not in evidence.

          Japan has a high-speed train, but Japan, unlike CA, has huge cities all up and down the whole country. What you are talking about is a $100B+ train that’s connecting to a city with a population of about 325,000.

          There is already a train that goes from Sac to LA, and people already aren’t riding it. The high-speed rail people haven’t yet solved the problem of those several big mountain ranges that lay between Sac and LA, and wishful thinking ain’t gonna do it – trains aren’t going to bullet through there. They just aren’t.

          Speaking of SF, BART is so crowded the system is overwhelmed with people wanting to ride it up and down the peninsula.

          Um, buddy? BART doesn’t go up and down the Peninsula. It stops at South City.

          1. Sorry… you’re right. I mean Cal Train. BART is planned to extend to San Jose but hasn’t gotten there yet.

            Regardless. I ride BART every day. It’s packed.

            1. I ride BART every day. It’s packed.

              It’s packed during rush hour with commuters coming and going from the suburbs and exurbs. BART runs only and exactly back and forth between downtown SF and the bedroom communities. That in no way indicates any value in having a “high-speed” train run from Modesto to Fresno (or from Sac to LA in the unlikely event that ever gets built).

          2. It also presupposes that there are a lot of people living in LA that have pressing and constant need to travel to Sacramento.

            And if those people do, there is already a high speed – even higher speed than rail – solution.

            Its called take a fucking airplane.

            1. Yeah, quick poll of la resident who want to go to Sacramento resulted in lots of laughter.

              An LA to SF bullet train would be desirable, but nowhere near cost effective. And can be effective replaced, in CA’s climate, with an autonomous modular bullet bus.

              Build the roads.

        4. High speed train from LA to Sacramento? You think none of those politicians representing the Central Valley towns along the way are going to insist that it stop at their town? Seriously?

          1. By now, I’m sure everyone not in a big city in California are very used to getting the shaft from their fellow citizens.

        5. Than take a high-speed train that moves barely faster than the traffic is? That costs a huge amount (hidden in taxes instead of paid up front so you have the poor subsidizing the rich)? And will cause massive amounts of congestion for its 10+ year construction period along with increased taxes (though, if you’re lucky, you’ll get a lot of that cost overrun covered by people in other states WHO WILL NEVER BENEFIT FROM IT AT ALL) due to the need to cover the cost overruns – which are already multiples of the original estimate and construction hasn’t started in any meaningful way?

          Yeah, I think the people of CA would rather drive.

          Its not like the freeway is a parking lot all day long, FFS. You’re proposing a really expensive solution to a small problem.

        6. There is no high speed train. There never will be a high speed train. It’s a scam.

        7. To talk about relative preferences without talking about relative costs is meaningless. Yes I’d rather take a high speed train (assuming it really is high speed, gets me to/from where I want to go and is relatively speedy) other things equal. But other things aren’t equal. If you’re going to ignore costs than we can forget the train. My preference is private jets for everyone.

      2. No, most people do not want to take public transit. The left is purposely keeping roads shitty to ‘nudge’ people into using their preferred method for the masses to use (but not themselves).

        Build or provide transit that serves people’s needs, and people will use it.

        There are things that have kept me from owning or commuting with a car. Road conditions and congestion were never one of them. They were: the cost and expense of acquiring and maintaining a car. The cost of private parking at home and at work. The simple fact that driving time is not time I could spend doing anything else (like reading or checking e-mail).

        Now, if you those are not significant factors for you, you might ask yourself why. Is there ample parking wherever you might like to drive? Is it cheap, easy, and quick for you to drive 5+ miles from your home? If so, why do you think that is?

        The answer is: sales and property taxes pay almost half of the cost of building and maintaining roads. City planning decisions prioritize things like highway expansion over developing valuable land that would generate more tax revenue. Zoning requirements impose parking minimums on new development to ensure a constant surplus of parking so that it’s always cheap and/or free. And so on.

        It’s not that people don’t want to take public transit. It’s that we’ve already gone out of our way to make private car usage a dream, at massive, unsustainable expense. People are responding to that.

        1. Build or provide transit that serves people’s needs, and people will use it.

          Problem is most govtl transit plans are not intended to serve people’s needs. They are intended to provide jobs for public sector unions and for those who have delusions of being the transport central planning czar for their city.

        2. To reference your previous arguments on other articles, if the cost of the car is too much then maybe you should move to somewhere that isn’t a authoritative shithole. My car only costs me gas and insurance at this point. At 33mpg city I pay almost nothing. If you stop buying new cars every three years the cost becomes negligible.

          Do I have options for transit? Yes. They cost nearly the same, even with subsidies, and they take longer. So what you are claiming as a mechanism to push people to mass transit is government mandated asshattery. You’re in a location where building to maximize usage is exactly what they do not do. If they did the would be enough housing to support people working more near their homes. This is all government created, and why should I believe the government that THIS TIME they have the right answer?

    2. “This is a specious argument.”

      Governor says that money from a tax increase is going to be spent on one thing, subsequently spends money from that tax increase on a different thing.

      Yep, you’re right. Nothing wrong with that………

    3. Since time is money, the less time you spend on congested California freeways, the richer you are.

      Thus explaining my fabulous wealth.

      1. What you do with your extra time is your business. If you do nothing with it, that’s your own lazy fault.

        1. You could have used data to back up your assertion rather than emotion. It has more impact. Now I’m tempted to think I’ve won, and we haven’t even examined the data.

        1. ROFL (Rich: Overloaded with Friends and Laughter)

    4. If mass transit were genuinely more efficient – as in it provided people what they want for less money – then they’d be flocking to mass transit.

      But it doesn’t. Because, in the real world, its not.

      All but the poorest rate the time spent traveling over the cost of traveling. Taking mass transit requires you to adjust your schedule to match transits. It has large amounts of dead time – time spent waiting to start the next leg of a trip – which cars do not have except during the rush hours. Yes, even in LA.

      Mass transit, *on paper* works better. But it assumes transit modes are filled and that people are time-insensitve. Neither are what you get in the real world. The fact is, even with congestion, people prefer the convenience of a private auto over mass transit and once you figure in costs of *direct* subsidies, lost time, and real-world ecological impact, not even buses make sense.

      1. It has large amounts of dead time – time spent waiting to start the next leg of a trip – which cars do not have except during the rush hours.

        That’s a pretty big proviso you’re waving off there, kemosabe! “Cars are efficient – except when they’re not!”

        You know what slows down buses? Drivers of private cars. Get ’em out of the way, buses become far more attractive. No, a system with big headways and inconvenient routes is not a good system. But design the system so that it serves major corridors reliably and regularly, you’ll get more people using it and not – importantly! – driving their own private boxes.

        I’m pretty time-sensitive! But I’ll bike or take mass transit before I’ll drive. Because I actually track the time it takes to drive. It takes longer than you think!

        1. Have you considered the possibility that other people track the time it takes them to drive, too, and find it’s faster than mass transit?

          1. Sometimes it actually is. But no, most drivers probably don’t really think about the comparison.

        2. every driver does.

          it simlply take longer over all but the shortest trips – which people would then say you should be biking that distance.

          as an example; I started driving in 88ish after 4 years of mass transit. 45 minutes to drive across town *during rush hour*, 60 minutes on the bus – not counting waiting – outside of rush hour, 90 during

        3. That’s hilarious. Given my commute would be better if the poorly utilized buses and trains were out of the way. They cost me at least five to ten minutes each direction. Stopping every few hundred yards isn’t the pinnacle of efficiency last I checked.

          I timed my options. If I exclude the time to get from destination to train station and vice versa then it is equal to my drive time. When I add those last two legs, what do you know, driving is faster.

          Look, it’s not that I want to take away from you what makes you successful in using your time successfully. However, you seem to be staunchly authoritative in demanding your method is best for all. The moment you make such assertions I will attack. Call it the libertarian in me.

          1. Stopping every few hundred yards isn’t the pinnacle of efficiency

            which doesn’t have anything to do with the public transit network but is instead the establishing/scheduling of routes. The solution is for govt to stop running transit ops themselves. They suck at it and it isn’t even necessary for public transport. Govt instead should manage the network itself (which involves a necessary land monopoly) – create the HOV-only (seriously limiting thru access – because otherwise private cars always run everything else off those roads where they have thru access) grid; creating the load/unload nodes (existing intersections repurposed for that are best cuz that also is how to deal with the thru access problem); and opening up those nodes and the HOV-only routes between them to entrepreneurs (carpoolers, Uber/taxis, vans/minibuses, bike rental, etc) who will be better able to do the actual passenger/route/scheduling/internode stuff. That latter is what funds the public system and also takes buses etc off the existing arterials and prob also eliminates much need for traffic light control (tho Americans prob aren’t competent enuf to handle roundabout control instead).

            If I exclude the time to get from destination to train station and vice versa then it is equal to my drive time. When I add those last two legs, what do you know, driving is faster.

            That is a problem of a transit network that is too small with too few nodes. See above for soln.

        4. That’s a pretty big proviso you’re waving off there, kemosabe! “Cars are efficient – except when they’re not!”

          It’s also dead accurate. Denver, for example, has been lauded for its light rail system. But even when it’s not rush hour, if I want to take the light rail from Aurora to the 16th Street Mall downtown, I have to take two separate lines, and the trip takes about an hour an a half, at least. If I take the bus from the Aurora mall that travels down Colfax, that’s an hour or more depending on which bus I manage to catch. On the other hand, I can drive from that exact spot all the way downtown via a variety of road arteries, and it takes 45 minutes or less–even with all the growth that’s taken place which has exponentially increased the number of cars on the road. That’s lost time, and sleep, that I can’t get back, and living in the city, in an area that isn’t crime-ridden, is prohibitively expensive for someone who isn’t making well over six figures and/or doesn’t have kids.

      2. “If mass transit were genuinely more efficient – as in it provided people what they want for less money – then they’d be flocking to mass transit.

        But it doesn’t. Because, in the real world, its not.”

        Why People Don’t Use Mass Transit

        There are plenty of good reasons to encourage mass transit, but arguments about the hidden costs of the automobile fall on deaf ears because people, unconsciously or not, factor time and convenience into their decision making. The average driver knows perfectly well why she drives.

        http://stevedutch.blogspot.com…..ansit.html

        1. The above average driver also knows why *he* drives.

          1. the above average drive cares not why he drives, only that he drives.

        2. in fact, despite the hidden costs of mass transit – which are much higher – people still prefer driving.

  7. “Roads require money to fix.”

    Thanks for mansplaining that to us, Moonbeam. Now would you kindly explain why you’re not fixing the roads even though you have the money?

    1. Trust your betters to do what is best for you.

    2. It’s called ‘Beamsplaining when Jer Bear does it.

  8. A gas tax in theory fits the bill by collecting money from the motorists, truck drivers, and transit buses to pay for the roads they drive on. California apparently prefers to spending its gas tax dollars and vehicle registration fees to pay for modes of transportation the motorists don’t use.

    That’s the way things work in Bizarro World too.

    1. “A gas tax in theory fits the bill by collecting money from the motorists, truck drivers, and transit buses to pay for the roads they drive on. California apparently prefers to spending its gas tax dollars and vehicle registration fees to pay for modes of transportation the motorists don’t use.”

      And CA charges those who use those forms no transit tax at all.
      Let’s go one further:
      Those (self-righteous) bikers, and train riders pay no transit tax, while they certainly do benefit by the the use of motor vehicles, at the very least in the cost of groceries delivered to their nearest Whole Foods. Not to mention, say, an ambulance ride, a trip to that pristine wilderness so beloved of those who dislike automobiles. There’s plenty more.
      Imagine what a bushel of lettuce would cost in, oh, Tahoe if it were loaded in a bicycle basket in Salinas with a healthy slap on the ass for the aspiring Lance Armstrong.

    1. Savior of the World?

    2. If it was a sole Unicylist I’d call him Mr. Bezos.

    3. The US does bike infrastructure all wrong. Like 100% in the wrong fucking direction – with not a single redeeming feature in any city outside maybe Davis.

      The only way to have bike infrastructure is completely separate grids. Bikes and SUV’s cannot mix. And any picture of a cyclist wearing a helmet and special clothing is proof that we are still stuck on stupid in this country.

      1. “The only way to have bike infrastructure is completely separate grids. Bikes and SUV’s cannot mix. And any picture of a cyclist wearing a helmet and special clothing is proof that we are still stuck on stupid in this country.”

        Fine, so long as there is a license tax on bicycles suffcient to pay for them.

        1. Wait – is there a tax on driving that covers all of the costs incurred in building and maintaining roads for drivers?

          Actually, no – no, there’s not.

          1. Unless you expect the fire department and EMS to respond to your call on light rail, drivers aren’t responsible for all the costs incurred in building and maintaining roads.

            Just sayin’.

            1. Our roads are certainly not designed to facilitate the delivery of emergency services. The amount of capacity we need for deliveries, emergency services, and transportation of people who truly have no alternative but to drive everywhere (due to disability or otherwise) is only a fraction of what we build.

              1. That completely avoided his very poignant point. You’re basically saying it isn’t perfect so fuck it all. If not, what you’re otherwise saying is some statist idiocy that the roads should be mainly for government use except where they make exception. To which I say, hell to the no.

                Expanding on what I said previously, what would you say if I told you two of my four cars use carburetors? What if I told you they are classics? I’m curious on your stance with those.

    4. Drivers never seem to understand that an empty lane means that it’s getting people to where they want to go. They seem to think that total congestion is the way roads are supposed to work.

      Idiot.

      1. Yes, you’re the only smart person here.

      2. Congesting the cars into one lane so you could make room for a barely-used protected bike lane is considered a great success by bicyclists.

        Idiot.

    5. Bicyclopolpse?

    6. Silver surfer?

    7. Bikey McBikerson?

  9. Houston has managed to do the “intermodal” thing quite cheaply. The bus routes have been rationalized. They are now more approximating a grid, rather than the hub and spoke design which previously applied. (How do you get there on the bus? Well, first you go downtown…).

    Now here’s the sneaky part.

    They put bike racks on the buses! No, reallio trulio. Now, if I need to go somewhere, I hop on my bike, ride the quarter mile to the stop, get on the bus, get to the general area of my destination, and ride the rest of the way! Where-used-to-work was a good mile and a quarter from the nearest bus stop. No problemo!

    Yes, I kept a spare suit and tie and a couple shirts in my office, but my job was only half suit. The other half was in the fab shop; sawdust and swarf and all that fun stuff. Lots of fiberglass resins and solvents, so there was a shower, as mandated by OSHA. The museum business kinda bottomed out with Obama, so I got a job as building engineer for a large hotel. 425 rooms to let, but no way for me to take a shower? Then they started giving me a hard time about the bicycle. NO, you can’t keep it chained in that bit of dead space. NO, you can’t keep it in the shop. No, you have to park it on the roof of the parking garage. So I did. Hung it on the chain on the OUTSIDE of the garage. Made the local news. Got fired eventually, they said for cursing in front of paying guests. Well, yes, but in Russian?

    1. Is this the hacking I was warned about?

    2. Ah, OK. So you have special circumstances that allows YOU to commute that way. Do you thank the taxpayers?

      1. I can’t say all of those suburban carheads driving on publicly-subsidized highways and living in communities built on the back of high-density urban dwellers have ever thanked me for my contribution to their white-flight dreams.

        1. I agree. We should privatize the roads.

          1. Or government should be forced to focus on its few enumerated duties…roads, national defense, courts.

            1. But what about the WTFOMGBBQ community?!?!?

          2. I would love to see drivers howl if that ever happened.

        2. So you subsidize then when they move to housing within the city they can’t afford?

        3. I can’t say all of those suburban carheads driving on publicly-subsidized highways and living in communities built on the back of high-density urban dwellers

          You’re not really familiar with post-WW2 population migrations and the economic evolutions of such, are you? It’s like you never realized that there was this mass movement of people to the suburbs, followed by concerted efforts by urban mayors to get suburban residents to spend money downtown.

    3. See, but buses are low-rent. They’re for poor people. They certainly don’t look good running though town – unlike light rail lines.

      That they get people where they need to go and adapt to changing circumstances in ways that rail simply can’t – that’s irrelevant.

      After all, the people clamoring for light and HSR will never be caught dead riding those anyway so it doesn’t matter if it works or not if you have your own fleet of government vehicles with drivers at your beck and call.

  10. Between this story and the story below about Cuomo, New York City politicians, et. al going after people’s freedom of association, the Democrats are really coming across like a bunch of dinosaurs. If it weren’t for elitism and common sense authoritarianism, there wouldn’t be any need for these jokers at all.

  11. “”The freeloaders?I’ve had enough of them,” he said at an Orange County event.”

    No, he signed the Dills Act to make sure we have plenty of them and they all vote D.

  12. If you think term limits are a good idea…don’t. They ruined California.

    1. Term limits didn’t ruin California. Term limits were the crappy ‘solution’ to a legislature that was capped in size in its constitution.

      California assembly in 1880 – 80 members each representing 10,000 people

      California assembly in 2018 – 80 members each representing 465,000 people (3rd least representative in the world behind US Congress and India)

      No surprise – ain’t no big money gonna propose an initiative to change it cuz buying 80 critters is far cheaper than buying 3400.

  13. I have no problem treating cars and driving like items and activities that should be excise taxed to oblivion. They’re a fucking nuisance. The only reason all that money is needed for road maintenance is because drivers fucking wreck the roads. Why should we be treating driving like it’s pro-social behavior? It’s not.

    1. Socialism it’s the final solution.

    2. Ah, another moron. How do goods get from where they’re made and processed to where they’re sold? How to laborers get from where they live to where they provide their services? Mostly, it’s via roads. So ultimately most of these taxes on roads will get passed onto consumers one way or another.

      Now, roads are overused (and often under supplied), but that’s what happens when you force some people to pay for something regardless of whether they use it, then let everyone use it regardless of whether they pay for it.

      1. You have to understand people like Simon and other elitist progressives have never gotten over how they were left at the alter after WW2. I mean in the 30’s life was going so great for them. Their dreams of planned society with all us good little peasants crammed into high rise apartment buildings shuffling our way to work via mass transit and coming back home were coming true. But after WW2 all that changed. The middle class tired of the crime, political corruption and failing schools of the city left to the burbs. Instead of on top of each other apartments people wanted that single family home. Progressives were devastated. People were free from their political machines and the progressives dream of Utopia died. So now they look down upon us with disdain. They profess their fetish style love affair with mass transit and the pedestrian lifestyle as superior to our automobile living. They raise their noses in the air as they talk about how quaint it is to buy from small bakeries farmers markets and small stores. The poke fun of us who shop for a week at a Supermarket where I can usually get the same products for cheaper and all in one stop.(Also not realizing even in our burbs we can find small bakeries, butcher shops and produce stands. Heck we even have farmers markets that bring them all together). Progressives have been trying to end our driving cause that would get us back into their planned societies.

        1. Yeah – it’s amazing how roads just magically appeared at just the right time

        2. Read a municipal budget sometime, dufus, and see how your fabulous suburban lifestyle is subsidized by the urbanites you loathe.

          Suburban sprawl is not sustainable. It’s a strain on municipal finances and it spreads out jobs and labor too widely to be economically productive. For decades, municipalities have financed suburban expansion through annexation, bond measures, and federal grants, and then by essentially pumping money out of urban centers into suburban infrastructure.

          The true socialist dream is: everyone gets a cheap house, a big yard, cheap groceries, a quick drive from their job.

          1. Well doesn’t that sound awesome. It’s almost like the ultimate HOA. Do they also tell me how to dress? What about what I read that was already written? We already see them coming after speech, food, and culture.

            Fuck off.

            1. Seconded…..he’s a shitty troll.

              1. He also misses how metro transit authorities will run half empty buses out to burbs to justify taxing them to pay for the mass transit in the dense urban areas.

                1. He also isn’t capable of proving any of his claims about who is getting subsidized and who is doing the subsidizing.

          2. “The true socialist dream is: everyone gets a cheap house, a big yard, cheap groceries, a quick drive from their job.”

            You left out the bullet to the back of the head if you don’t go along and do as you’re told.

          3. “Read a municipal budget sometime, dufus, and see how your fabulous suburban lifestyle is subsidized by the urbanites you loathe.”

            On the contrary it is the urbanites who are constantly trying to suck outlying suburban areas into their jurisdiction so they can force the people in those areas to subsidize their school systems and public welfare programs. Cities spend far more money on those things than they do roads.

          4. Drop dead, you filthy lying cunt.

          5. Suburban sprawl is not sustainable. It’s a strain on municipal finances and it spreads out jobs and labor too widely to be economically productive.

            No, packing a bunch of people into a small area like sardines isn’t sustainable. Thanks, but I’d rather not see our society end up like people in Hong Kong or Japan that rent out “personal spaces” the size of a Navy sleeping bunk just so they have shelter for the night.

      2. Why are you talking about roads? I’m talking about driving.

    3. SimonP? Why are you even alive? You should be taxed into oblivion like any good Marxist minion.

      1. Don’t worry. I’m a high-salaried New Yorker. That means that the feds, state, and city governments all get a chunk of change from me, it’s all taxed at income tax rates, and with “tax reform,” I get even more gypped by red-staters than I used to be. I pay enough in taxes every year to support a family of four comfortably.

        1. “it’s all taxed at income tax rates, and with “tax reform,” I get even more gypped”

          You don’t like taxes that you can’t deduct, and therefore, avoid paying? Got it.

        2. and with “tax reform,” I get even more gypped by red-staters than I used to be.

          What do you mean, “gypped”? I thought your proglydyte fucks WANTED to pay more taxes!

  14. rebuildingca.ca.gov

    Hmm. Wonder how much taxpayer money was expended coming up with “Rebuilding caca, dat gov”.

    1. California has a surplus. its money well spent. /S

  15. I live in Los Angeles and I can tell you that the “densification” and “beautification” of the local nuts on the city council is turning driving locally into a nightmare. However, there is not mass transit alternative to driving where we need to go. How does this make sense to the people paying taxes to support their efforts?

    The drive to make Los Angeles depend on mass transit much like New York entirely ignores the history of mass transit in New York. New York in the 1880’s and 1890’s had immigrant areas that were the most densely populated places on the planet. Mass transit in New York was built to lower population density and not increase it. The original subway lines were built through areas that were unpopulated. I have books with pictures showing this. Ten years later, people lived along these subways and the population density problems of New York while not solved, were relieved. Los Angeles is spending a fortune to increase density to justify its subways and light rail. Instead, the politicians should listen to their constituents instead of having a we know better attitude.

    1. You do know that LA had the largest electric rail system in the world in the 1920’s (Pacific Electric Railway – 3x more mileage than the rail there today – with 20x more trains). The first freeways (Pasadena, Hollywood) were built around the rail – but as is always the case, cars force everything else off the road once they can use it. Even so – 60 years after the RedCars shut down, areas within quarter mile of the old lines are twice as dense as those more than a mile from them even though they are now transportation deserts (since the newer freeways were built to connect the post-WW2 suburbs not the older areas).

      1. (since the newer freeways were built to connect the post-WW2 suburbs not the older areas).

        You do realize LA’s trolley system was built for the same functional purpose, only in this case to connect its older suburbs with the downtown area, right? In fact, the whole point of many mass transit systems in the late 19th-early 20th century was to allow the swells an easy way to get downtown without having to live in the vicinity of the immigrant/industrial slums.

  16. Jerry Brown, on the forefront of the great demise. Gee? Why are people leaving CA? They’re not headed to CT either. That’s for sure.

    1. Please, please, PLEASE stop moving to Texas! The infection is spreading and these idiots run away from their problems and still don’t understand. Wherever they go, THEY’LL be there!

  17. NUKE FREAKIFORNIA!

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