Then you have people who are supposed to be allies voting against the bill. Landrieu of all people should know better after Katrina knocked out the New Orleans Streetcar system for months on end and put an abrupt stop to expansion of the Desire Line, for which funding had almost materialized before the storm.
And when President Obama "pledged to launch the biggest public works program since the construction of the interstate highway system in the 1950s" we didn't think you meant a whole new highway system. People want Infrastructure and not just roads. Republican pollsters even say they do. Rails, energy facilities, water treatment etc etc.
How about investing in operating transit? It has been conspicuously left out and as Brad Plummer mentions over at the Vine, Obama's team when asked why the infrastructure funding is so paltry, responds that they don't think we can spend it fast enough. I think its more something along the lines of this...
You can go ahead and tell yourself that this is just theory - just a single example. But that's willful ignorance, as the Hindrey scalping is only one chapter in what has been one long narrative arc whereby economic progressives have been deliberately shut out of top administration jobs. Just step back and think about it for a minute: Amid a stable of eminently qualified and well-respected progressives like James Galbraith, Joseph Stiglitz, Dean Baker, Robert Reich, Paul Krugman and Larry Mishel, Obama has chosen Rubin sycophants like Larry Summers and Tim Geithner to run the economy - the same Larry Summers who pushed the repeal of the Glass-Steagal Act, the same Geithner who masterminded the kleptocratic bank bailout, the same duo whose claim to fame is their personal connections to Rubin, a disgraced Citigroup executive at the center of the current meltdown. And the list of Rubin sycophants keeps getting longer, from Peter Orszag to Jason Furman.You can only have a circus when the clowns are in the building. And that includes the bearded ladies that think that the census is pork. But the bigger story here is that Obama's people only believe in pushing paper around instead of dirt.
But this all got me thinking, what would get people to pay attention? What would get people to start thinking about how important transit is in the major metropolitan areas and how a stimulus would work? How about we just pull an Ottawa and shut it all down. Imagine the signal that would send. Just stop running the buses and trains for one random unannounced day and see what happens. When all those Senate aids can't get to work or when bicycles start piling up outside the capital office buildings, perhaps some will take notice. When Denver shut down its system, the region was brought 30 minute delays and hellish parking scenarios downtown. When LA did it, traffic speeds declined 20%. Those are big numbers. Imagine them everywhere. Do you think people would finally notice?
I know i'm getting a bit more militant about this, but if we don't start seeing signs that things are actually going to change this year, it might be time to start trying something different than just voting for change. It's not like we're asking a lot more than is needed in this country. That comes during reauthorization. We're gonna have to change things ourselves. Anyone else getting tired of being not the permanent minority or majority, but permanently screwed?