The thrust of commuter rail into southern Rhode Island has failed because it has not responded to the needs of residents. In Wickford, where I grew up, very few residents take advantage of the weekday commuter lines running from the new Wickford Junction Station, since very few residents there commute to Boston. There are, however, plenty of retired folk who would love to take a weekend trip to Boston via train, but are stymied by the station being closed on weekends. If weekday commuter rail is to ever succeed in southern Rhode Island, it will not be in the short term.
I wanted to take MBTA commuter rail to Boston on a Wednesday afternoon to see the Red Sox play the Giants at Fenway Park. There were no trains leaving Wickford between 1:25 and 5:30 pm, so I had to park at Wickford Junction, take a bus to Providence, and walk three blocks to the Amtrak station to catch a train. What good is a beautiful station if there is a 4-hour gap between trains on a weekday?
Transit begets transit. The shame in urban planning is the reactionary cycle that engages the public process of investing in efficient and multi-mode transit.
In the Bay Area, I'm continually frustrated by the lack of Caltrain service. A light rail system with the local Caltrain service density and a headway of <15m could provide the backbone of a huge number of bike commuters. In my experience, Caltrain > driving for most commutes in the SF <=> SJ corridor and having adequate last mile solutions. The challenge now is to transform the chore & appointment traffic into public transit friendly opportunities.
- funding (some municipalities' voters don't want their towns to be bedroom communities for Mountain View and SF -- these are also the towns that vote against e.g. HOV lanes on their section of the 101, and against BART running through their town)
- ground level crossings along the whole route (trains hit people and cars all the bloody time, but "grade separation" is expensive and also makes the stations harder to use -- for example, see San Bruno station)
- having to sound their loud horns along the whole route for safety reasons (anyone with train tracks in their backyard opposes increased frequency)
- people wanting electric trains before more service happens
- did I mention funding? (Caltrain used to have people selling tickets at every station -- those jobs were cut due to a lack of funding.)
I think creating a well-funded, well-managed state agency that was in charge of transit (ala Metrolinx in Ontario) could do wonders for BART and Caltrain. But the first thing that needs to happen would be to give public transit more money (which is difficult considering all the other things on municipalities' plates, like homelessness in San Francisco, and property tax rates not reflecting the rise in housing prices).
It's a reasonable suggestion. Another alternative is that RI could promote business growth to lure away some MA or CT talent. But whether they want to be a swankier, higher-income commuter suburb or a commercial-heavy exurb they really should do something.
There is a reason that the world isn't run by a single person, why separate countries succeed, why most countries share authority with smaller sub-governments (state and local in the US. There's a reason why each species isn't a single superorganism, but individuals within species tend to cooperate.
"Life", evolution, or survival of the fittest -- clearly isn't a zero sum game. Over billions of years it's clear that it's positive sum. Blindingly obvious.
Adjacent governments too may well fit the bill. Too much competition can suck all the excess value out of the situation, but so can too little. The ideal form of government might be an angelic dictator, but you don't see the world full of them, do you? Healthy competition can find the optimum much better than singular good intentions. Partially because it allows experiment with real world results. With n=1 you can enact policy but you can only guess what effects it might have had because you have no control, no basis for comparison.
It's all about _healthy_ competition, and it's the basic idea that our republic was built on which can be seen everywhere in the constitution.
Sure, you can propose I merge my family with the family next door as a more "regionally-appropriate subdivision", but how can you justify it (or justify against it)?
It can make a lot of sense for different sections of the same metropolis to compete for residents, businesses, etc. The dynamics of which competition is healthy and constructive and which competition is unhealthy and destructive is an interesting problem, and it isn't settled by personal opinions of "common sense".
* In re-reading, I think my bias is to call that local variation experimentation rather than competition. I'm a technocrat at heart.
There are entire countries or overseas departments of countries that cannibalize tax bases of others, some in corporate taxes, some in personal taxes. There are countries that, due to low wages, low cost of living, and low worker protections, can manufacture certain goods really cheap. There are countries that can ruin their countryside extracting resources like copper, rare earth metals, or oil and sell it internationally.
Ultimately regardless of what the territorial unit, each unit looks out for their self-interest, because a 'Unified Greater Boston' may result in more growth, but it will likely come with a different allocation on wealth to the particular area that each fiefdom covers. It's really just capitalism where each entity competes with another, and some win really big, while most don't.
But it's all unified under the Greater London Authority, which controls transport and policing. This is what the Mayor of London controls, as head of the elected London Assembly.
And this absolutely can apply to businesses operating in markets, as it can governments operating in regions.
Surely when government compete for citizens, people benefit by living under governments more to their liking?
Governments are not perfect substitutes for each other. Packing up and moving to another city is harder than changing almost any other consumer choice.
Government officials don't compete to make their citizens as happy as possible, they compete to make their voter base as happy as possible. If they can improve the lives of the majority of their voters by hurting non-voters or those who vote for someone else, they have every incentive to do so.
No, government officials compete to make their donors and patrons as happy as possible. A government functionary that stands to land a cushy 6 figure job in the private sector if he does what he is told while he is in government service usually does what he is told.
It's one thing to have different systems of government. It's quite another to have arbitrarily-constructed political boundaries (and very nearly all boundaries in the US are highly arbitrary), in which the design intent is quite often to execute precisely the benefits-inclusion / cost-exclusion dynamic I've described.
Even where that's not the design intent, it's often the practical result, and systems have a strong tendency, though path dependencies, compunding factors, emergence, etc., to evolve in certain ways.
Or do we allow every political unit sited, physically or metaphorically, upriver and up-wind from its neighbors to dump raw sewage in its waters and foul the air. After all, the source community doesn't bear those burdens.
It's that analogue which, extended, is at play here.
Now: you want to find a way to improve the general state of Your Fine City and make an appeal to others elsewhere on that basis? That's quite a different discussion. It's actually what the many-and-sovereign state system of the US was meant to provide -- a laboratory, if you will for governance experiments.
But even there, I believe there's a line to be drawn on principles which, once established, cannot be continuously relitigated, or at least not without exceptionally good reason.
What you're describing is a zero (or negative) sum game. Liquidity extraction isn't on its own a wealth generating action (although what you do with the liquidity will very often be, that's typically the motivation for extracting the liquidity), but otherwise it has no relation to what you're describing.
Interactions (whether accurately described as competition or not) between separate units (such as two different governments) can't be "cannibalisation", since neither is "eating their own". However, it certainly can be zero (or negative!) sum. I suppose you could describe certain actions of a single government as cannibalising one part of its population's well-being for the benefit of another, but that's really out of scope here.
Economic rent is essentially payment for time-based access to some capability which isn't (generally) consumed in use. Agricultural rents are the nominal case, though others apply.
One characteristic of rents, as opposed to raw material inputs, is that while high material costs lead to high general price levels, that is, a supply-shock inflation, high price levels lead to high rents.
(If you're living in the San Francisco Bay Area, that check you're cutting every month is due, at least in significant part, to the high local labour pay rate. Though yes, a constrained housing supply has a great deal to do with this.)
The landlord (or rentier) can successfully extract liquidity, but she isn't imposing costs elsewhere.
There's a difference if you, say, have one part of a region which offers employment, and another which offers housing, but they're unconnected. The externalities of employment (congestion, traffic, pollution, crime, infrastructure provision) aren't borne by the housing provider. Though the employment region may also be spared other expenses, e.g., residential sewerage and education costs, though those are often much lower.
Here you've got a situation where arbitrary division lines of cost burden vs. profits accrual. This is distinct from the typical case of rent-seeking, in which a landlord's privileged position allows them to extract the benefits of increased demand.
Your question goes deep into the questions of cost, value, and price theory, and it's a very common element of much economic theory, which treats the behaviors of prices for wages, stocks, capital, rents, and goods fairly distinctly. Particularly in the 18th and 19th century discussion, but also in much 20th century literature.
In addition, privatised rents distort the allocation of capital and labour towards the direction of wherever that rent exists. This is bad for a number of reasons: productive inputs are not being put to their most productive use, often large proportions of a community's or country's productive capacity is being employed to enrich a relatively small rentier class, other non-rentier businesses are either hobbled or destroyed by higher input prices and if the rent is attached to an exportable commodity (e.g. iron ore, coal, oil), export facing businesses suffer due to relative appreciations of their domestic currency.
It's interesting you bring up raw materials: I assume you mean natural commodities like iron, coal, gas, oil etc. These are the classic example of rent-generating commodities that make a small number of people very rich, while severely distorting the capital structure of an economy. For example, take a look at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dutch_disease. Ironically the Netherlands has probably some of the world's best policy in this regard, mainly focussed on their successful oil export industry. They ameliorate the effect by a combination of high rent-recovery taxes ~%60, a significant degree of nationalised production and a very well-funded sovereign wealth fund.
And it may be true that retiers may, in some circumstances, be the main beneficiaries of increased demand. However, this could be said of many businesses. I don't think this is the primary issue. Although it sounds a bit trite, the primary issue is that rentiers enjoy unearned private profits. So when a local council builds a nice park somewhere (with public money), nearby private landholders get to privatise a significant share of the benefit economic via increased land-rents (capitalised as higher private land prices).
Although it doesn't sound 'so bad', this kind of system can fuel very damaging economic behaviours: notably it can encourage speculative investment, lead to inter-generational wealth concentration, and it can severely distort the political economy. For instance, a land developer, fortunate to inherit the lucrative family business, can suggest to one of his long-time family friends, an influential member of government, where the government should locate that new train station they're planning to build (co-incidentally near some land he has been 'banking').
He might also provide his views that the government should tighten up on zoning laws (you know, to ensure family friendly suburbs), and that the government should slow the pace of its land-release programme (you know, because there's a glut at the moment and we need to combat urban sprawl). And he'll be listened to, thanks to his family connections and inherited wealth (a portion of which he donates to various political parties).
Wow this turned in to a bit of an essay. Just one last thing: I found your last paragraph very interesting. It's an area I'd love to see given more focus by academic economists, given the mainstream view appears to have whittled things down to just two factors of production: capital and labour. Perhaps we're trying to push a number of square pegs through a number of round holes here...
One party (the prosecutor) has the option to threaten a severe penalty (high cost) to the defendant, whilst the defendant (often indigent) has little means to mount a defense. The DA's benefit is not only offsetting court costs (an interest in which the Court is complicit), but in racking up a conviction.
That is, the costs (overbearing convictions, often false convictions) are externalised, the benefits (trial costs, political advantage) are internalised.
I don't see how this can be considered "rent seeking". It's simply a strongly asymmetric power relationship and cost/benefit allocation.
Anyway, the competition angle makes more sense when you're looking at different regions (e.g., Boston vs. New York).
Anecdote time: I live in London, about 40 minutes from work, in a pleasant but fairly boring area (not many big city things to do around here, a few pubs and decent but medium-low end restaurants - pretty much anything else beings and ends with a 30-40 minute journey). My wife got a new job, so we have a bit more cash between us, and have decided to move closer to the city (I'll be about 10 minutes from work, she will be 15-20), and we'd be in a very nice urban area with tons of amenities just around the corner. We will be paying a fair bit more in rent, but expect a substantial bump in quality of life. When looking at a flat, we met the outgoing couple -- they are moving to an extra-urban place (in another country, even) to get more space, be closer to family and nature (and, presumably, pay less rent). Someone else yet will move into our current flat, which has served us very well for five years, and is excellent value for money in London.
In another five years, we'll probably be ready to leave the city behind, and the shuffle will repeat.
Because of the difference in preferences (which changes over time), everyone are better off than before. This is obviously not facilitated by commuter rail, but the dynamics are the same (or, commuter rail would allow the dynamic to act across a larger spectrum of people and houses).
Indeed, the OP is committing the broken window fallacy, seeing only company profits, not savings on behalf of the consumer.
A move from one region to another is zero-sum? It might be, but that depends on many factors. Does the person move closer to work? That's fewer miles driven, one less car on the road, less pollution, more happiness, higher productivity. Is one local government more efficiently run than another? That's better use of tax dollars. And on and on. Competition drives these factors.
These two are features, not pricing.
For a community; businesses might move for tax breaks, which benefits them greatly, but there might be more traffic / no high quality living that increases commutes. The employees might have to pay all relocation costs, and then the business that has no loyalty moves when the next tax break becomes available.
I think R.I. is better trying to cultivate its own economy, Providence is home to two great schools - RISD and Brown(Ivy League.)
This has some actual numbers:
I think the net effect of a regional government would be all the current problems of local governments - pork barrel politics, inefficient bureaucracy and corruption on a larger scale. The corruption in local governments always seem to dwarf that at the federal Level, but this is maybe because more get caught.
Overall the whole local tax benefit regime is something of a shell game. There may be no local income tax but you end up paying it property tax. States make up for it in other ways. A similar phenomenon exists for business tax incentives. As soon as those provisions sunset the businesses will just pick up and move somewhere else. An example is the film industry, New Orleans offered Hollywood huge tax incentives to use New Orleans for film production. Once those ended Hollywood went elsewhere - Georgia and the cycle begins again. It does little for the local economy.
The Rhode Island situation is a good example of how postwar sprawl leads to bad governance and outcomes. The Boston region is a shitshow... Hundreds of little municipalities with duplicative services, priorities, regulations, etc.
The other problem Rhode Island has is that they are on the wane in general. Regional industrial activity has been vaporized, and remaining industries like banking are consolidating. So if you live there, and need a job, Boston's it.
The problem is that the bigger an organization gets the more it is prone to waste, inefficiency, and fraud. Another problem is that accountability is inversely proportional to concentration of power. This opinion is obviously at odds with that of the pointy heads in Washington DC and Brussels, but unlike their opinion, is congruent with reality.
For any two given urban areas, their relationship is likely to be eitheras peers, that is, one competes with another (for labour, capital, and foreign trade), or as distinct members of a regional hierarchy (e.g., commuter suburb and commercial hub). And yes, depending on how you scope out regions, they may have different comparable roles. Note too that two suburbs within a given hierarchical region, say, Silver Spring, MD, and Arlington, VA, compete amongst one another within that region (Washington MSA).
In the case of Boston and NYC, you'd almost certainly see most transport and commute patterns within either city, with the inter-city transport being considered non-commute, for the most part.
More generally, this is why transportation networks almost always have to be designed, scoped, planned, and financed at least one level above the nodes they connect. Rome centrally managed highway construction throughout the Roman Empire, rather than leaving the decisions to local colonies and cities. In France and England, the first constructed transport systems, canals, were largely overseen as matters of national policy (though with private involvement), as was the Erie Canal in the United States. Development of railroads typically evolved similarly, with buildouts within specific nations in the US and Europe. This lead to a far more integrated system in the US (and USSR) given their much larger geographical area, whilst Europe's freight rail system remains much less capable than that of the United States.
* In the United States we know the answer, of course: rural areas have the power, and doing so would require them to cede that. One can dream, though.
Rural areas are poor, their industries have been gutted, and they are experiencing demographic death, as all the young people are forced to leave for urban areas in search of non-poverty level work.
It's not at all a tired argument, especially given:
1) the fact that the residents of smaller states get seriously-disproportionate presidential voting power in the Electoral College as a result of the two-senators-per-state rule --- in presidential elections, the votes of residents of any of seven small states (Delaware, South Dakota, Rhode Island, Alaska, North Dakota, Vermont, District of Columbia, and Wyoming) are weighted more than twice as much per person as the votes by residents of 13 larger states such as California, New York, Texas, Florida, etc.;  and
2) the fact that the Senate insists on keeping the 60-vote rules to open- or close debates, leading to frequent stonewalling of controversial matters.
Indeed; it was part of the Great Compromise. But that's not what you argued in your GP comment: By implication, you were claiming that this feature of the Constitution supposedly did not support the GGP comment's assertion that rural areas have significant political power (which to me seems well-nigh indisputable).
Yeah. Some friends moved from Cambridge to Providence, and in Providence they're a five-minute walk from the train station. They can be at South Station in 45 – 50 minutes. They live in a nice, newly-constructed two-bedroom apartment that's a little more than half the cost of their previous, cramped Cambridge apartment.
I also have a lot more flexibility, for instance not needing to worry about catching the last train at night if I'm out with my friends or something like that.
For me, I'd rather pay more money for the proximity and flexibility but I agree that YMMV and that for others it makes a ton of sense to go to Providence. And really, I'd much rather go to Providence than a standard suburb because at least I get some of the benefits of urban life there.
There are 2 commuter rail stations and they're not connected. They are trying to connect though even with the advocacy of two former govenors, but the current government is resisting (http://www.northsouthraillink.org/).
I live in Cambridge MA and commute to Boston (3.5 miles by bike). The fastest I can get to longwood Boston is about 25 minutes on a bike. Bus is 45 minutes.
Coworkers that have spaces can get from just outside 128 to Boston in slightly over an hour.
The few places with decent access to the city the prices are going through the roof.
The north south connector will never happen, the big dig fiasco saw to that. :(
What did they spend on the "Big Dig"? 20 Billion dollars all said and done? "They" of course being the US tax payer who paid for it, not just Mass residents. Seems like that money might have been better spent on public transit infrastructure. So typical.
Taking a train, even when it takes 45 minutes, is a far cry from driving the same commute. It's a great gig if you can make it work.
Unfortunately, these are rare characteristics for urban transit systems.
They tried that and it was a bit of a disaster...
The rich folks on the west side of the bay don't want extra train traffic through their enclaves. They like it gridlocked, thank you very much, so that the plebians have to stay out. And they have enough money to fight it.
East bay, on the other hand, has been working on it. BART is apparently almost to Milpitas.
Today, meaning right now, Atherton's city attorney is engaged in a battle with High Speed Rail (HSR.)
He informed the transit planning commission that Atherton would not accept planning funds if it meant losing the legal right to sue to stop HSR.)
Also, most of the activity nodes of the Bay Area are actually close to transit, which paradoxically hurts the efficiently of the system. Traditionally, you'd want each station to be its own hub from a larger catchment area that you'd serve with, say, buses or other transit. But in the Bay Area, because of the Bay and mountains hemming in the built-up areas, every interesting node is already on the One True Circum-Bay String of Pearls, and have minimal catchment areas beyond them.
This also means there is no express option to get from one end to the other, without having to traverse through all intermediate points first, regardless whether that's accomplished with an 'express service' that skips stops, or a transversal direct line.
The anti-development climate also played a big role in how things played out. Regional planning in the midcentury wanted something more like LA - lots of freeways, cheap land and cheap development. Public backlash prevented the bay from being filled, and stopped most new freeway construction.  BART planning started in the same era, and it was also more ambitious than what ultimately came to pass.  Yet despite that, or maybe in part because of it, the jobs, and subsequently new population, continued to stream in. As a result, there's a lot of "development debt" that has been kicked down the road until now.
The governance issue and the land use issue are correlated; since authority is heavily localized across many departments, even on basics like water(SF enjoys a direct line to the good Hetch Hetchy water), every city and county tries to avoid "taking one for the team" and focuses on its immediate self-interest instead, favoring NIMBY policies, unbalanced commercial development, and services and infrastructure favoring the wealthiest demographics. Governance is also generally inefficient; SF's spending is far beyond other cities of its size. The new Bay Bridge span is an embarrassment on many levels. Politicians regularly play the liberal base for fools by using a framing of concern to avoid useful analysis, decision, or action; at the same time, they are willing to bend over backwards for the VC-backed tech club, cutting special deals and ignoring or downplaying misbehavior.
It's a highly dysfunctional place, albeit not yet melting down.
Ok, technically we do have 18 miles of high-speed rail.
Also we have several existing electric rail systems. BART and Muni Metro, for instance. LA Metro too.
A. The state of Rhode Island currently reimburses the MBTA for all operating expenses south of the RI/MA state line, and they just funded a commuter rail extension south of Providence to attract intra-RI commuters to take transit to Providence instead of driving. However, even providing incentives such as free parking, ridership at these stations has pretty drastically missed expectations , and the trains are scheduled to take the same time as the bus takes in rush hour traffic. The commuting situation/parking isn't bad enough in RI like Boston or New York to make the train obviously beneficial time/money wise, when you lose schedule flexibility of when you can go to/leave work.
B. The site of the proposed train station only has two passenger tracks and is located in a high speed (125 MPH or 150 MPH) zone. Starting service to the station is not as simple as just refinishing it and having trains stop there: Amtrak (which owns the tracks) would probably insist that the state of Rhode Island quad-track through the station so that its trains can pass a stopped commuter train.
C. It's difficult to get transit projects funded near state borders, because of the mindset of "we paid for it and they all go work in the other state!".
Providence is a pretty fast-growing city, so it's possible that in 5 to 10 years the traffic situation makes a much more compelling case for people to make use of transit, but additional commuter rail service there is a kind of hard sell.
That said, even adding a third track is a substantial investment.
It depends on what Amtrak's mathematicians decide, including whether electrifying the track is worth it.
My own knowledge, Google, and Wikipedia have all failed me here. My best guess is it's old slang for pneumatic transport tubes, but I can't say I've ever seen anything quite like what's shown in the picture.
With jobs moving back to inner cities, the radial structure of commuter rail works again.
> In July, the feds awarded $13.1 million, just shy of the $14.5 million the state was seeking … The grant application estimates it would serve 519 riders daily, within the range of other Boston-area commuter rail stations. But most riders would be drawn from busy stations nearby, resulting in a net gain of just 89 new passengers.
Surely we could just give $73,600 to each of the 89 people to pay for cab fare, and save the other half of the money?
Tokaido Shinkansen carries twice as many passengers so this agrees with your post end assuming that two rail lines each have two tracks each. Note that this is the most extreme example, most railways do not carry this capacity.
Also, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conant_Thread-Coats_%26_Clark_...
 By European standards that could as well be a railway hub.
Smethwick: working class area with an immediate population of around 25k you get an unmanned station  with trains each half an hour in both directions (Walsall to Wolverhampton via Birmingham).
Both lines used for commuter traffic, and both stations built a long time ago (Lichfield line was actually early 20th Century). I suspect the economics all come down to use levels and density. What they call 'ridership'. In a lot of neighbourhoods in the West Midlands that are further away from the radial railway lines you are looking at a bus ride then train and a bus ride the other side - as I gather from the OA the present situation is in the settlements mentioned.
Silly me, I thought state taxes were meant to finance the operation of the state, not punish people for making unpopular choice.
Usually in the US, passenger rail
subsidies. A bit tough to think
that subsidies are a good path to
"a better economy".
Also for the
100%, there are some toll
roads and bridges where the
users pay for use of the roads
which looks like users paying
and not a subsidy.
There's likely another issue,
a law about 100 years old passed
in part to slow down US West
water resource projects to
"make the desert bloom" --
yup, can do that, but the
question was, do the benefits
exceed the costs?
So, the law established that
a Federally funded project
needs to pass cost-benefit
analysis. So, add up all the
costs and all the benefits "to
whomsoever they accrue", and then
to go ahead with the project
the benefits have to be higher
than the costs.
Well, maybe passenger rail can
pass cost-benefit analysis
in some cases and, there,
justify a subsidy,
but the one case I heard about was in
a lecture on the Baltimore
Subway. It was all built and ready to
go. So, for the cost-benefit analysis,
just call the construction cost $0.00 --
seems generous enough!
Then have to count the operational
costs and consider the ticket revenue.
Well, the ticket revenue from the
estimates of what people were willing to pay
and the number of such people
didn't cover even the operational
costs. The lecture ended with the
optimal solution -- brick up the
openings and walk away.
That seemed a bit extreme: Instead
why not take out the tracks and
use the rest as underground parking?
At the federal level, Congress has been transferring money from general funds into the Highway Trust Fund every year since 2001, because the fuel tax has gone down in real terms every year since 1993.
Tolls are nice but only account for 5% of road funds in the US. To use the pejorative applied against transit projects, the "fare recovery ratio" for roads ranks below literally every transit agency in the nation.
In short, roads are highly subsidized from general revenues.
But I don't have good data.
I want good data but don't have it.
E.g., there are a lot of roads
and bridges that are not Federal,
e.g., not the Interstate highway
system. So, when I hear that
the gas taxes don't pay for
all the roads and bridges,
I think, of course not --
e.g., my local roads and bridges
are paid for heavily, maybe
mostly, by local real estate
taxes, and in my area that is
fair -- everyone here needs the
local roads and bridges.
In the 'equity' vs 'equality' debate, roads are 'equality': everyone is given the same road to succeed, but of course not everyone has a vehicle to make use of it properly.
But this debate pops up in areas when tolls, euphemistic "usage fees", or increases in fuel taxes are proposed to pay for new roads.
100% is an exaggeration, but it's not far off. Our roads aren't just failing from a lack of maintenance, they're failing in one generation, they're failing to be paid for from usage taxes before they need full replacement.
There are no states in the US where gas taxes cover more than 60% of the cost of roads.
This is another form of racism/classism. White people have no problem paying for white people transport (cars!). They object to "city" transport which often carries poor and other-colored people.
As I understand it, cars can be fairly expensive. Maybe some kind of tax on the sale of each one could bring in a few bucks.
I'm in NYS and have been for 20+ years,
and what I've seen in the last time
or two I renewed the license on my
car was that I paid a surtax
to support the commuter trains,
the MTA. So, it looks like
the car owners are supporting
the trains whether they use the
trains or not. Only once did I
ever get on one of those trains.
And I'm proud to say that I've
never been on a NYC subway.
E.g., I live on a nice street in
the suburbs. There is maintenance
on the streets and snow plowing in
the winters. My impression is that
my local town is paying for that
out of real estate taxes -- if so, then that's
fair since everyone in the suburbs
needs the streets, even if they shop
at Amazon and get deliveries
via FedEx or some such.
trains? People in the suburbs
don't need passenger trains so much, and
even if they do they still need
the local streets to go
between the trains and the doors.
So, again, using real estate taxes
to pay for the local streets
is fair enough.
I don't have good data on what the
costs are for Federal highways, bridges,
trains, capex, opex, and
how those costs are being
but my impression is
that the gas taxes and tolls pay
for what the cars and trucks use
and that in the US it's just
hopeless for the train tickets
to pay for what the trains cost --
but again that's just my impression.
Since I'm not in either the car or
train business, I haven't gotten
But if you are for trains and want
to convince people, then having
the data on costs and how
they are being covered
would help, really, is crucial.
Uh, writing this, it occurs to me
that to be fair the Federal gas taxes
should need to cover only
the Federally supported highways
and bridges, e.g., the Interstate
highways. In that case, sure,
local real estate taxes
and not Federal gas taxes
may be the main source of funding
for local streets.
People in the US are generally completely unaware of how subsidized their drive-everywhere, segregated-zoning lifestyles are. Land use choices have very real effects and in the vast majority of the US, you HAVE to own a car or you are completely handicapped in terms of access to jobs and services.
Public transit infrastructure proposals in the US are routinely downscaled/defeated because a lot of people think that anything other than building roads = money pit subsidies for the dumb uneducated poor people who live in the city.
If you don't agree with the egalitarian side of the argument for making cars less necessary to living in America, you should at least be able to see the hypocrisy of the general attitude towards transit given the fact that gas taxes and other car-related usage fees that fund roads don't come anywhere near making the road network "pay for itself".
I suspect that as Millennials age and gain political power, given their left-leaning politics and greater preference for urban living, this situation will change to look more like Canada does now, which is similarly car-dependent but also generally has cities with more reasonable public transit options.
Shifts the burden from the planet and people to the company as they learn to manage employees remotely. Which is where the balance should be set at.
This is usually where good intentions go awry. A more efficacious approach is to find ways to make it worthwhile for employers to do so.
The world doesn't have to kiss the ring of employers, and few employees have individual bargaining power as I do. I work from home. People were murdered fighting for an 8-hour workday. Look up Pinkerton. Something that by and large is still not respected to this day, we need stronger labor laws all around.
A law has to be passed to force it, because profits will always come before people otherwise. This is the history of the labor movement. It's just reality of how things work.
Another efficacious reason is as Nick Hanauer has argued, it's in the best interests of business to compromise on these matters, before the pitchforks come out.
As I was once told "every business gets the union they deserve". If you treat people right, you won't have people saying the things I do, changing the political environment.
And the final reason, it's just the right thing to do. Not much money will be made once the planet is destroyed or talented employees die early deaths.
In the shortsighted search for profits, all of these reasons are ignored, which is why we have labor laws and desperately need more.
Oh, the banality of profit.
They just don't want to do it because they can't socially pressure you to stay in the office 10+ hours a day. They don't feel they're getting everything out of you that they can. A good, hard, focused 8 hours is always going to beat a sloppy 10+. Most people start sabotaging in one way or another, become passive aggressive and other bad behaviors.
People seem to have issue with my "force" comment, but we don't -force- the 8-hour workday today, and it's not obeyed. Business more often than not does not follow the law without enforcement and as a precursor, regulation.
It's good for everyone involved, but profit seeking is usually short-sighted. I'm not surprised at the downvotes from business owners and the investment class, but there's enough that employees must be downvoting as well. Which for me is confirmation-bias that the US work culture is completely upside down as much because of employees as management.
The fact that this is about power plays does impact profits. However those profits are extracted (by decreased employee choice and mobility) rather than created (through ingenuity).
That's exactly why I said "short-sighted" profit seeking. It applies in many ways.
J. Doyne Farmer looks at this extensively in his work on innovation.