Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

What’s the biggest expense for people in the lowest income bracket? Housing? Food? Medical care?


It’s transportation.

Across all income levels, transportation comes in as the second largest expenditure. It’s a big deal.

Places to go; people to see. Often, it’s business to do. Our way of life depends on moving things and people around.

The Washington Post headlined a recent story, “Infrastructure is a priority, survey shows, but paying for it isn’t.” The implication? Americans want a free lunch.

That’s bad. But not true.

The Post should have made it clear that people are specifically skeptical about “paying for it” through higher taxes. The Rockefeller Foundation Infrastructure Survey found that over 70 percent of us oppose raising the gas tax, 64 percent are against adding tolls to existing highways, and 58 percent aghast at the thought of a tax on each mile driven.

However, the survey’s most interesting number was 78 — that’s the overwhelming percentage of Americans who want private sector investment in transportation projects. As consumers, we know we’re not responsible for all the costs and cost overruns involved in bringing most products or services to market. When we decide to purchase something we do pay some of these costs, but not before. Privatizing transportation would allow market forces like “price” and “consumer demand” to get better transportation to market, with investors — not consumers — taking the bulk of the risk.

Or we could let politicians and bureaucrats continue to make things worse.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

By: Redactor


  1. Drik says:

    Public transportation is the cheapest way to travel, if one is paying out of pocket, costing half to a third per pasenger mile compared to the out of pocket cost per mile of an automobile. It is the most expensive way to travel if one does not have the luxury of having its costs subsidized by the taxpayers, since the actual net cost of running the public transportation is somewhere upwards of double the cost per mile of running a car.
    If all of the poeple that were actually paying for public transportation were actually using it, the system would quickly crash from being overloaded. There would be no room.
    Public transportation, and that includes the boondoggle of the commuter rail, including high speed trains, is a wealth distribution mechanism that is barely justifiable when the economy is good. It makes no sense when the economy is struggling and we are already in debt up to our eyeballs.

    Politics as usual.

  2. S Rubicon says:

    In addition to many other reasons we should keep the government out of transportation projects, is the patently obvious reason that when government gets involved, the costs go through the roof & out to the stratosphere. OK, fine. Blame unions if you must.
    I say its the government bureaucracy that interferes at every level & inserts its burdensome regulations, specifications, policies, & other bureaucrat friendly concepts.
    Get the federal bureaucracy, which is why our federal government is so incredibly costly, out of the process as much as we possibly can.
    Perhaps we should limit the profits of union contractors to something of a percentage based on private bids versus union bids. The formula would be complex… but perhaps we need that so all bidding is fair.
    Union workers alone do not build great projects. There are many built by non-union contractors & workers that are shining examples of great work.
    Point is, the system is why it costs so much & we must get the system under control. And that means we must reduce the federal employee level & the bureaucracy that goes with it!
    Unions claim workers cannot make a decent living. Yet I live in a region where much work is non-union & I can tell you upfront, the work is terrific. So its not that unions only produce great results. Workers here live just fine & are very happy people. they are also almost always busy with work as we weather recessions very well.

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