Dispatches from District 48
It is interesting to me that the government has chosen to subsidize the least desirable actions
via Zero Hedge
If everyone did them, the government wouldn't need to subsidize them...
I find it interesting that all the categories are so high. I somehow feel that folks are parroting what they think the pollsters want to hear so they feel better about themselves.
The subsidy is because the workers in public transportation are union members.
IIRC the highway trust fund is also bankrupt, and needs a higher gas tax to support it. One way or another the infrastructure isn't funded entirely from user fees. You also have to breakdown which cities were talking about public transit wise, some are more adaptable than others for transit.
The government shouldn't subsidize anything. Let the free market decide.
I don't understand your "least desirable actions". Really, not a criticism, just asking for explanation. I don't understand your point.
"Least desirable" meaning the actions that people don't want to do, and thus aren't doing.
Part of the reason it is bankrupt is because the fund keeps getting raided for other purposes, like rail transit.
It isn't bankrupt yet but is projected to be by 2014. S_S_Mark is correct that the fund has been diverted for other purposes (and to reply to certain Massachussetts senate candidate, those who use the roads are paying for them).
The crazy prices in here in LA have made it a pleasure driving on the freeways. My unofficial guess would be a 10% reduction in workday drivers and probably 15% or more for the weekend. This has nearly returned to normal, since the prices have been dropping. When the price fluctuates gradually driving habits don't usually change. The huge spikes tend to make people change their behavior. People still have lives regardless of how expensive gas is and they still need to get around. I personally would never take public transportation regardless of how expensive gas is, simply due to the fact my time is far more available to me than saving a few bucks on gas and it doesn't take me where I need to go. Buying a new car that would only get say 15% more doesn't make much sense if you own your current one outright. Sales tax and the car payment alone would buy a whole lot of gas for a very long time.
Notice what happens every time the gas price spikes. The per barrel price of crude usually drops because the market starts to overreact to the potential of too much supply, which creates huge problems for the industry. The industry has very little ability to store more than a weeks supply of raw product and almost no ability to store refined product. Shutting down and restarting the system is very expensive. The latest price escapade will likely drive the prices into the 3.00 gallon range in Ca by the end of the year.
I don't really understand the panic over "high" gas prices. Maybe its just my lifestyle, but I did some calculations.
300 mi/wk travel
13 mpg SUV
I spend $92.31/wk on gas
So I buy a motorcycle for $5,000
and cover the same 300 mi using only 5 gal of gas ($20/wk on gas)
I save $72.31/wk
It still takes me 16 months just to recoup the cost of the bike.
And that's assuming that all those miles can be on the bike.
Except for people already on the margin, I'm not seeing an urgency to "actually" change driving patterns (as opposed to say to a pollster that you would).