Friday, January 16, 2009


The latest version of the stimulus proprosal includes $30 billion for transportation. Of that, about 30 percent is for transit, mostly the expensive rail stuff that very few use.

The 2007 American Housing Survey results just arrived. As usual, journey-to-work data are included. Only 4.5% used public transit to get to work. But 3.4% reported working at home.

But huge subsidies to transit over many years have not done much to increase the share of transit users. There is no need to prolong that experiment.

But if we are going to play industrial policy, we can embark on a new experiment. Why not see if massive subsidies to home workers swell their ranks? If that worked, we would get much more in the way of less congested roads, cleaner air, less fossil fuel imports, less greenhouse gases, etc.

But that's only the half of it. We still have to find a way to "create jobs" --easily unionized jobs, being best.

Better to leave well enough alone. Perhaps the stimulus package as is has all the angles covered.