Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Fiscal Urbanism

Ryan Avent links to this post at the American Prospect on why conservatives should choose urbanism and transit:
In fact, one doesn't have to be concerned about climate change at all in order to support such policies; values of fiscal conservatism and localism, both key to Republican ideology, can be better realized through population-dense development than through sprawl. Tom Darden, a developer of urban and close-in suburban properties, said Wednesday, "I'm a Republican and have been my whole life. I consider myself a very conservative person. But it never made sense to me why we would tax ordinary people in order to subsidize this form of development, sprawl."
This is something I've always thought, if so concerned with fiscal conservatism, why is sprawl so pervasive? Part of the problem perhaps was communism in the 50's. Whenever you read opposing blogs or "conservative" thought in the comments, you always hear communism. I often wonder, if Moscow and Eastern Europe didn't have high rises and expansive transit networks, would we hear a different argument for sprawl? Probably. But who knows.

I do know that Representative Mica has been pretty supportive in the past. And its heartening to hear his comments. The FTA isn't helping.

But the federal government is a hindrance as often as a help, Mica admitted, throwing years worth of bureaucratic red tape in front of states that want to construct light rail lines. "As the federal government, we're a very unreliable partner, and we haven't decided what our policy is," Mica said, adding that he has been working since 1989 on building one light rail line in his central Florida home district, and expects to see grandchildren before the project is completed.

This is what causes cost overruns. Of course things are going to go up in cost when it takes 10 years to build a light rail line. You should blame that on the FTA and the political appointments of Bush, rather than the transit agencies that want it done quicker.

1 comment:

Loren said...

"Socialism" and "Communism" are what many right-wingers call any government interventions that they dislike.

So to get their goats, talk about "socialist roads". They'll then do "four legs good, two legs bad" hairsplitting worthy of "Animal Farm".