Re: SOC: Urban Sprawl

From: Michael S. Lorrey (
Date: Mon Jun 05 2000 - 10:15:39 MDT

James Wetterau wrote:
> says:
> ...
> > I'm sure there are other trends and developments I'm overlooking. Comments?
> ...
> Privatize the roads! Make all transit user-pays.
> In New York City, for example, the subways orginated because they were
> a good idea, and they were originally run by (competing) private
> companies. The NYC subway system is still the most economical subway
> system in the world, with user fares paying for over 75 cents on every
> dollar spent on the system by the government. I believe that if run
> by a private company, the NYC subway would be cleaner, profitable and
> a viable business again. But just as the subway needs to be
> privatized, so must the roads. After all, do long-haul commuters
> really pay their fair share of the road costs? (To tell you the
> truth, I don't know the answer, but I suspect that the federal and
> state governments end up subsidizing driving, at least for certain
> drivers.

Gas taxes pay for far more than just the roads and bridges. Gas tax money goes
into biking and walking trails, mass transit construction, and lots of other
non-transportation related things that have a higher priority than maintaining
the road infrastructure.

> It's no good to say that private mass transit can work if you make the
> highways a tax-funded pork barrel, too. Let free enterprise solve the
> problem.
> Unfortunately, transit at present is a massively government-meddled
> with field.

City government is essentially a monopoly corporation created to keep the
streets of the city safe, clean, and maintained. If people insist on living in
cities, some sort of a monopoly corporation is considered to be required, though
I imagine that there is the possibility that residents of a street or block
could form a 'street association' or 'block association' which would have
contractual agreements with neighboring associations to share the cost of
maintaining the streets they share, though you may wind up with some wildly
variable streets. Sort of like the 'adopt a highway' program writ large.

Of course, a suburb association ringing a city could essentially lay seige to
the city, blockading supplies to the city, and take control of the government of
that city (just as eight blocks around one block could get together and lay
seige to that block..)

Mike Lorrey

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