Monday, August 5, 2013

Democrats Following Republican Lead in Privatizing Transit, Just Like They've Done with the Schools

All across the country, Democrats --Barack Obama, Rahm Emanuel, Andrew Cuomo, Cory Booker-- have pushed privatization of public services: through the 2000s they have done this with public schools, closing them and replacing them with charter schools.
Now we have a Democrat doing the same thing in Maryland. Read how Democratic governor O'Malley is pushing to have a private company build and operate a public transit line. This is a dangerous pattern. The record shows that private companies abuse workers worse than do public operations. (And unionization? Hah! That'll be more difficult.) And what about night or weekend service? Will this get scaled back sometime, on the argument that it isn't profitable? Folks: red light: public transportation (Amtrak's Northeast Corridor the lone exception) is rarely profitable.
Read below, noting the references to government money into the project. Yet it will be run by a private company? Sounds a lot like charter schools. Think "charter transit line."

Maryland to seek private firm for Purple Line project

Maryland will seek a private company to build and operate a planned $2.2 billion light-rail Purple Line, marking the first time the state has used such financing on a public transit project.
Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) plans to make the announcement about the 16-mile transit link at an event in Bethesda on Monday. The governor also plans to highlight more than $1 billion in new funding for transportation projects in Montgomery County, administration officials said.
he package includes a $400 million state commitment for construction of the Purple Line, as well as more funding for county bus service, new intersections and other road work in one of the most congested regions in the state.
“It doesn’t solve every problem, but it helps us a lot,” said Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett (D), who plans to attend the event and was briefed on the package.
The event is the latest in a series launched by O’Malley after the passage this year of amajor transportation funding bill that gradually raises gas taxes. The first increase of 3.5 cents per gallon took effect last month. By mid-2016, motorists can expect to pay as much as 20 cents more per gallon, according to legislative analysts.
At the events, including one in Prince George’s County last month, O’Malley has focused not on the unpopular tax increase but the promise of new jobs and economic development that come with the projects.
The biggest-ticket item to be touted Monday is the Purple Line, which would run along an east-west route inside the Beltway through Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. The plan calls for 21 stations, with service between Bethesda and New Carrollton.
Maryland officials are counting on the federal government to cover about $900 million of the project’s construction cost and will look for contributions from local governments and the private sector as well, said Erin Henson, a spokeswoman for the Department of Transportation. Construction could begin as early as 2015.
     . . . .

No comments: