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article imageOp-Ed: Lawmakers cutting mass transit as guilty as BP in the Gulf

By Ann Garrison     Jun 29, 2010 in Environment
Has anyone stopped driving because of what's happening to the Gulf of Mexico? How many are free to choose, even if they would?
The U.S.A.'s stupid stimulus funds went to build freeways while mass transit was cut back and fares were raised all over the country.
Every federal legislator behind the stimulus freeway building spree should be held responsible for the death of the Gulf Coast, as much or more than British Petroleum. Even now, the cuts to mass transit continue, as the oil volcano erupts with no end in sight.
Despite all warnings, they wrote a big check to stimulate the demand to keep drilling, even to unreachable, uncontrollable depths.
Ever since the crash that hammered mass transit budgets all over the U.S.A., every news account of fare hikes, service cuts, and transit worker layoffs has been paired with reports of rallies, protests, and citizen lobbies to stop punishing those who need mass transit to get to work or wherever, and, those who choose to ride the bus, train or subway--if they have one to ride--instead of taking up public space with their own vehicles and spewing more hydrocarbons and crud into the air we all breath.
Bus fares have been raised and service has been cut back  even in San Francisco  one of the most aut...
Bus fares have been raised and service has been cut back, even in San Francisco, one of the most automobile dense cities in the U.S.
San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency
Nevertheless, fares went up and service went down, as highly paid highway and bridge lobbyists trumped mass transit riders, a group with little lobbying cash, in the 2009 stimulus bill. Transit authorities around the country stood in line for token stimulus funds, but only for new building projects; there was no immediate operating support to stave off fare hikes, service cuts, and lay-offs. The pain was predictably ill distributed to the poor and people of color.
BP didn't do this alone. We did it; our legislators did it; and we elected them, though in elections with price tags far beyond the reach of mass transit riders.
Local battles for mass transit continue even as a whole eco-system and the life of the Gulf Coast dies.
We can't afford it, say municipal legislators all over the U.S.A. Of course we can't. Where'd all the money go? More freeways, meaning capital projects that turn corporate profits and lobbying dollars. And, of course, bank bailouts and perpetual war.
Every few months President Obama requests and receives more hundreds of billions in supplemental war funding, to keep fighting for oil and all the other resources required to temporarily sustain an absolutely unsustainable way of life.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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