Friday, July 23, 2010

More auto subsidies!

I'd like to point out real quickly that RTA's total budget for FY 2009 was $52 million, and it's gone down a bit since then. I'm doing this just so you can get a sense of scale on this next article.

The Freeway Service Patrol is a mostly-state-funded program that provides services to disabled motorists on California freeways. In Los Angeles, it's running all day long, seven days a week, and it runs during rush hours out here in the IE. The argument is that it reduces traffic congestion by taking disabled vehicles out of travel lanes on busy freeways, and that makes perfect sense. However, reducing congestion is a benefit mostly to motorists- local buses don't use freeways, and most long-distance transit service is provided by Metrolink. Motorists pay $1 a car in vehicle registration fees to pick up 20% of the cost of this program.

The state funds the remaining 80% of this $40 million-a-year program.

Yes, that's right- you could provide public transit service to nearly all of western Riverside County for what we're paying tow truck drivers to help stranded drivers on freeways.

I'm not saying that this program is ineffective, but it is yet another example of the flagrant subsidies that our governments toss towards automobile drivers and infrastructure, while environmentally responsible transportation gets scraps.

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