Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In
Streetsblog

Detroit Media Mogul: Beware Transport Subsidies (Except for Cars)

From Scott Walker to the New York Post, opponents of transit and bicycling have displayed a masterful ability to selectively apply their disdain for "government interference."

false

When it comes to transportation policy, they equate spending on rail lines or bike lanes to socialism, while overlooking any and all subsidies for roads and cars. That's just the "free market" at work, they say.

The latest purveyor of this double-standard is none other than the publisher of a national news conglomerate. Keith Crain, chairman of the Crain's media empire, doesn't like the fact that Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has accepted federal money for a rail connection with Chicago.

As Joel Batterman at Network blog Transport Michigan points out, Crain has a pretty short memory:

"Beware," Crain warns, "when anyone shows up and says, 'I am from the government and I'm here to help you.'" Interesting. Turns out a certain Detroit publisher begged the federal government to step in and bail out another transportation industry (hint: four wheels, internal combustion engine) just three years ago. "Across the world," Crain wrote back then, "governments are reaching out to help their auto companies survive." He lamented the "theatrics" that Big Three CEOs had to endure in Washington hearings after their neglect of more fuel-efficient vehicles nearly wiped out the industry.

Come to think of it, didn't the government have a hand in building our roads, too? Why no column titled "We don't need highway aid from Washington," just for consistency's sake? In Crain's mind, are the Interstates also an example of Big Government largesse?

The "libertarian," "public choice" argument for exclusive government support of automobiles is getting just a little old these days. It's rather embarrassing, here in Michigan, watching poor Keith trying to make it work in defiance of historical memory. How can anyone still think this way, when they've just had the government step in to save their whole business universe?

Elsewhere on the Network today: The Wash Cycle asks if it's time to retire the "Share the Road" sign. Gateway Streets reports that despite the St. Louis region's growing number of roadway miles, commuting isn't getting any easier for area residents. And Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space comments on D.C.'s attempt to raise residential parking fees for households that own multiple vehicles.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

Bedford Ave. Protected Bike Lane Would Benefit Residents, Businesses: Data

A new report debunks the common myth that street safety projects aren't built for the benefit of people who live in a given neighborhood.

July 16, 2024

Tuesday’s Headlines: Rajkumar’s Citywide Bid Edition

The potential candidate for city comptroller cares more about "quality of life" than transportation, she says. Plus more news.

July 16, 2024

Report: The 3 Deadliest Districts for Pedestrians are Represented by Republicans

According to Smart Growth America, Suffolk County and the southwestern part of Nassau County are the worst places to be a pedestrian in the state.

July 16, 2024

Monday’s Headlines: Who’s a Good Boy Edition

Too many of our four-legged family members are being killed by car drivers. Plus other news.

July 15, 2024

Delivery Worker Minimum Wage Shows Promise … For Some, Data Shows

New data from the city's Department of Consumer and Worker Protection shows minimum wage is bringing order to a previously wild industry.

July 15, 2024
See all posts