Free markets and mass transit
Matt Lewis favorably cites the book Moving Minds: Conservatives and Public Transport, as he makes the conservative case for mass transit:
For starters, their book seeks to shape conservatives’ views on mass transit by pointing out that our current system is anything but the product of free market forces. Since the invention of the Model T, the U.S. government has poured hundreds of billions of dollars into the highway system, while mass transit (which historically had been privately owned) received vastly smaller infrastructure benefits — while being taxed heavily to boot. What’s more, the government simultaneously prohibited these mass transit companies from raising fares.Privately owned mass transit companies simply could not compete when they had to build and maintain infrastructure while their competition was funded by tax dollars. In addition, the authors note that post-World War II building codes in many areas created sprawl – a situation where homeowners cannot walk to work or to shop, and thus, must rely on an automobile. The authors present numerous and convincing arguments in favor of mass transit – especially street cars and electric-powered light rail trolleys – that are applicable to conservative thinking: Unlike automobiles, rail fosters a sense of community; increased use of electric rail would help accomplish national security goals by lessening our dependence on foreign oil; and mass transit policy is also pro-growth – something most conservatives favor.
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