Monday, July 7, 2008

Have You Ever Been To Texas, Mr. Reich?

Posted by Teresa at 12:01 PM

The New Yorks Times has an interview with former U.S. secretary of labor in
the Clinton administration, Robert Reich. After reading the interview with him,
I have question for him: Has he ever been to Texas?

Here's an excerpt of the interview and then I'll explain why I have that question:

You’re a professor of public policy at Berkeley and a former
U.S. secretary
of labor in the Clinton administration — what
can you tell us about the
gas-pump crisis as we set out on the
road this July 4th weekend?
Now that gas is at $4 a gallon, people
are deserting their cars for trains and buses and, where available, light
rail. We haven’t seen a transition on this scale away from cars ever before.

But you can’t take light rail to most backyard picnics in America.
No, public transit has been the poor stepchild of infrastructure spending
in America. We’ve poured tens of billions into an Interstate highway system
and our state road system; in effect we have subsidized the automobile.

Reich is gleeful that people are getting away from their cars. The reporter is basically
telling him light rail has its limits and he doesn't seem to get it. His argument is that
we haven't spent enough money on it.

The reason I asked has he ever been to Texas because it's a perfect example where
public transportation wouldn't meet the needs of people living outside the major cities.
My state has a lot of rural areas and what are they supposed to with fuel pricing at $4
a gallon? They need their vehicles to travel long distances because their small towns
don't have all the services, for example doctors, available to them. My point is that it
won't work in all of the state.

Public transportation probably works just fine in the Northeast portion of America
but that's because it's a big metropolis. I'm sure light rail works beautifully in much
of Western Europe but, again, they live in a metro area. However, much of America
is not like the Northeast or Europe.
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