Today’s Headlines

  • Paterson Pledges to Avert MTA Doomsday (Post, NY1)
  • Bronx Pols Espada, Diaz, Sr., and Rivera Don’t Care Much About Transit Riders (Norwood News)
  • State Senate’s Intransigence Is Putting B23 Riders at Risk (WNYC)
  • City Council Approves Major Rezoning of West Side Rail Yards (Post)
  • Coney Island Boardwalk Will Only Get Partial Repair With Stim Funds (News)
  • Here’s a Statewide List of Ped-Bike Projects Receiving Stimulus Cash (AP)
  • North Brooklyn Park Delayed as MTA Frets Over Parking Lot Site (Bklyn Paper)
  • Experts Debate: Is High-Speed Rail Worth It? (Planetizen)
  • NYT Travel Section Gives Portland Bike Scene Some Love
  • Downtown STL Saddled With Another Crappy Plaza (Urban Review STL via Streetsblog.net)
  • That Norwood News article contains some really obnoxious quotes:

    Even though mass transit riders outnumber drivers in the Bronx, Diaz said, “Sometimes, the minority needs to be protected.”

    Gee, I thought it was the less powerful minorities that needed to be protected.

    State Senator Pedro Espada, Jr. blamed everyone except the state’s Democrats. “The MTA took on too much debt, too much risk and is now trying to saddle the victims, in this case the ridership with bailing out years of bad decision making not only by the MTA but a three-term governor [Pataki] and [Republican] members of the Senate no longer in the majority,”

    Okay, Pedro, are you telling me you never voted for one of those crappy budgets? What do you have to say to your friends in the Assembly who did vote for MTA cuts? And why not at least restore MTA funding to the level it was at before Pataki was elected?

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Okay, Pedro, are you telling me you never voted for one of those crappy budgets?”

    Exactly. They passed without a single “no” vote. So did the pension enhancements.

    And now you can see why we are heading for an institutional collapse. What happened at the MTA has happened across the board — older and prior generations have taken too much out and put too little in, borrowing the difference — all while not saving in their personal lives too.

    To prevent the collapse of our institutions, painless sacrifice would have to be made, and everyone will have to accept being worse off. But Generation Greed will not accept this, so they just refuse to vote yes unless only younger generations are affected. No to fare increases. No to tolls. No to taxes. No to service cuts. No to pension changes. We won’t face it and you can’t make us!

    Other insititutions? The Republican alternative federal budget proposed deep cuts in Medicare and Social Security — FOR THOSE YOUNGER THAN 55 THIS YEAR. Came out two days ago in the WSJ. Bloomberg is pushing reduced pensions FOR NEW PUBLIC EMPLOYEES. More news on this in the papers today.

    And this also came out today — payroll taxes no longer exceed the benefit payments to Social Security beneficiaries — a decade earlier than expected — as a result of the recession.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/30/AR2009033003291_pf.html

    So why don’t they just use some of the extra payroll taxes that were paid in the past? Because that money was spent in the past, and used to offset income tax cuts in the past, with IOUs from the rest of the federal government put in their place. We’ve paid extra for years, and it’s all gone.

    “The Treasury Department has for decades borrowed money from the Social Security trust fund to finance government operations. If it is no longer able to do so, it could be forced to borrow an additional $700 billion over the next decade from China, Japan and other investors. And at some point, perhaps as early as 2017, according to the CBO, the Treasury would have to start repaying the billions it has borrowed from the trust fund over the past 25 years, driving the nation further into debt or forcing Congress to raise taxes.”

    Relevance to the topic on this board?

    What is going to happen to the infrastructure will all this money due to retirees, and for health care, and all this debt already there? What is going to happen to education for my childrens’ children?

    People are going to be shocked, yet none of this was a surprise. The Espadas of the world have been popular giving away our future money, and the future is here.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “painless sacrifice”

    Painful sacrifice I of course meant. Except that painless sacrifice that is painful for someone else is the only type those with power are willing to vote for.

  • > State Senate’s Intransigence Is Putting B23 Riders at Risk

    I’m so sick of hearing this line or that line has “too few” riders followed by some number in the thousands per day. Nevertheless, if the buses aren’t full enough, buy some smaller buses! Not every route requires a full-size bus.

  • “Will the Administration avoid the political temptation to spread the $13 billion among the six high-speed rail initiatives that are in various stages of planning in California, Texas, the Midwest, Florida, Nevada and North Carolina?”

    My guess: “No.” There is no way that politicians from these states would stand around and watch HSR money get directed at corridors where there is existing demand for it. Many such politicians will in fact probably decry the very idea of HSR out of one side of their mouth while demanding a piece of the pie out of the other side.