Sunday, July 06, 2008

Public intellectual

Robert Reich is a public intellectual, interviewed in today's NY Times by Deborah Solomon. Among his responses is this: "... public transit has been the poor child of infrastructure spending in America."

This is beyond silly and easy to check. The quickest check is at Demographia, where Reich and others can find that in 2006 road and highway subsidies per passenger mile were $0.010 while transit subsidies per passenger-mile were $0.686. These are averages. At the margin, we build rail transit that gets much bigger subsidies.

Outsized and ineffectual transit subsidies have been in effect for over 40 years. Most politicians and reporters don't care and neither do many public intellectuals.