I read through the Stltoday.com comments on Prop A's passing...so you don't have to!
Category: Doesn't Understand How Cities/Transit Work
There are many commenters who believe transit should serve all areas equally, despite the fact that population density and transit need do factor in. There are others who believe that the prosperity of suburbs is somehow related to the fact that there are no or few transit options. There are many others who believe St. Louis, in particular, is not fit for any sort of investment and is dying. These people don't seem to understand urbanism, transit, or St. Louis.
suburbianite April 7, 2010 2:23AM CST St Charles County prospers despite the lack of public transit!
MyOpine April 7, 2010 10:46AM CSTCan anyone tell me what is the business model of Metro? Is it to turn a profit or is it to subsidize transportation? Either way, it's Christmas time for Metro. I see a Vegas convention in the near future for their management. I wish I worked for a company that when their business model failed and couldn't turn a profit, could just go out and propose a tax. Let's raises taxes during a recession. Makes perfect sense. This is a permanent tax, not something temporary to just help them get out of the red. Yep, we need more 50 foot buses employing $30 an hour drivers out on the road driving out to West County to pick up 5 people. Makes perfect sense. $75 million a year? Heck, it might be cheaper to just pay the cab fare for everyone who needs a ride. What kind of management runs a business that needs $75 million a year just to survive? This was put on the ballet in April because it would of never passed in November. The supporters were well organized though. The supporters rolled out the "go green" t-shirts and stuck them on the backs of college students who still live at home.
Reality_Czech April 7, 2010 5:13PM CST Can someone list me the major employers that relocated to STL along a Metro line? I'm trying to think of one, but all I can see is downtown emptying out and the areas along the lines being "Escape from New York" sets in miniature.
Category: " All Transit Users Are Low-Lifes / Transit is Entitlement"
By far, the most popular sentiment among negative commenters is that they are paying for a good they will never use. This may in fact be true, but to call transit an "entitlement" ignores the huge cost of interstates and driving in general. While the fuel tax does indeed pay for a portion of interstate highway maintenance, local roads receive no such funding. Many drivers don't use interstates and yet are helping to fund them when they purchase fuel. Air and water pollution, noise, traffic, autocentric land uses, and personal injury/death are all an unfortunate byproducts of driving that are significantly reduced or ameliorated by taking mass transit. It's also rarely mentioned that transit use can save the commuter hundreds of dollars per year, as cars are not only expensive to society, but to the individual in the form of insurance, gasoline prices, oil changes, regular maintenance, collisions, etc.
The important part of this debate is that funding transit is a value statement for any society: that we wish to allow for mobility for all, for a cleaner environment, for a more walkable metropolitan region, and so on. Putting a price tag on these values is difficult, but most of us think these are worthwhile goals--which is why Proposition A overwhelmingly passed.
Comments that depict the non-car owner as a deadbeat, thug, or low-life are based on pure ignorance and an unhealthy civic state in this country. It shows that private automobility so limits social interaction that a whole class of people (car-dependents) have no clue how a significant portion of the population even lives. We are sharply divided as a metropolitan region and as a country. Comments like these highlight our divisions and lack of civility that is inherent when interaction between different groups in society is limited. What is most puzzling about a good swath of the comments is suggestions that students somehow won't pay into the system, but nevertheless voted for Prop A. Since when do students abstain from any purchases?
Underwhelmed April 7, 2010 5:54AM CST Now the majority will pay MORE for the minority. I don't like to pay for something I don't use. Charge the users more to ride, make them pay their own way. Transportation entitlements?
jwr8369 April 7, 2010 6:17AM CST And so it goes. I will have to hand over even more of my hard earned money for people with no ambition to make better of themselves. I like the quote at the end of the story, it pretty much describes St. Louis. No common sense. "We sunk a lot of time into it and effort with all our volunteers," Burns said. "But I think more importantly the lesson to be learned here is that an enormous amount of money can defeat common sense in St. Louis County." Enjoy your free rides, it's on me.
Vincent Gallagher April 7, 2010 6:35AM CST How can anyone cheer paying higher taxes? Because the people who voted for this tax increase don't pay taxes. They belong to Obama's entitlement constituency that sponges off the government. They had time to vote today because they don’t work and contribute to the tax base that supports all of these government programs and services. The middle and working class is having their income increasingly redistributed to the entitlement class.
Skooter April 7, 2010 7:56AM CST This is NOT a victory for St. Louis. It is a victory for the left wing socialists and entitlement queens. I pray this gets repealed at the earliest opportunity. Yeah, and the kids in the picture don't have a clue as to what they're really celebrating. If they did, they'd all be moving to different schools in different cities...(if they were smart).
38N90W April 7, 2010 8:18AM CST They look so happy! It really IS fun to spend someone else's money!
Hardsheller April 7, 2010 8:44AM CST The Soviet Union didn't die. It just swam across the ocean. The people of St. Louis just voted to enslave their fellow citizens so they can have something they desire. It's pathetic.
38N90W April 7, 2010 9:05AM CST Hey, maybe if they restore all the bus routes and add more MetroLink trains, the car thieves won't need to "appropriate" cars and get into high-speed chases! Wow, a real win-win! (the preceding massage brought to you by "Naive Citizens for Mis-Managed Mass Transit")
Category: Metro is Stealing My Money and Hasn't Changed a Bit!
I have addressed the notion of Metro being mismanaged on this blog. Metro booted the leadership that led them into a cost overrun on the Cross County extension and a resulting losing and expensive law suit. The agency has labored to open its operations up and involve the public. What else do these people want?
Ghetto Prez April 7, 2010 7:58AM CST I think the majority of voters rode the short bus. If you don't pay income tax you shouldn't have a vote. This is the biggest bunch of BS I've ever seen. A grossly mismanaged agency that spends like a drunken sailor just passed a tax hike. Un-friggin-believable.
Category: Just Buy Everyone a Car!
While this could have been included in the "Doesn't Understand Transit" category, it does deserve special attention. I found one comment that by a South Countian who commutes every day to St. Charles County for work. I was expecting him or her to proclaim a "no" vote for Prop A and to complain that he or she was not served by transit, so why should they vote for it. Instead, the commenter voted "yes"--s/he didn't want any more cars clogging up the highway and thought a reduced Metro system would lead to just that! Buying everyone a car (or calling each commuter a cab) ignores the incredibly high costs of driving and creating more traffic. Since this is an especially outlandish claim, I thought it deserved a specific counterpoint.
Scott Akins April 7, 2010 9:07AM CST I'm all for doing what's right for STL, but this tax doesn't make sense.If I do the math, since 1993 we've spent $15B on MetroLink and currently have 62k riders/day. That comes to a total fixed investment of $242,000 per rider! That doesn't even factor in the cost of financing. At that rate, it would've been more cost effective to buy cars for everyone.I don't see ridership growing enough to ever make the math work. If we can't prove viability over 17 years, we never will.In this economy we need to find better things to do with our precious tax dollars.
The Award for the Dumbest / Most Insensitive / Least Constructive Comment Goes to:
Speaks for itself. Welcome to Reagan County, Missouri. I wonder how Claytonites would feel about being the county seat to this new separatist county?
Skooter April 7, 2010 10:55AM CST I wonder if we can split the county in to two parts. We can use I-70 as the dividing line and evertything north of there can be 'St. Louis County' and everything south of there can be....'Reagan County, Missouri' or something like that. Than the RESPONSIBLE citizens can set their own rules and tax rates.
I hate to put too much weight on Stltoday.com's many trolling commenters. And it would appear that they are indeed in the minority given the wide margin of victory for Proposition A (also considering that there are more than legitimate reasons to have opposed it). Still, some of the arguments raised demonstrate a need for not just our local government, but our state and federal governments to show leadership in the arena of transportation. While other nations are building advanced systems that include high speed rail and excellent inter-urban transportation systems, the U.S. is still stuck in the modern era (1945-65), too often privileging automobiles over alternative forms of transit. In order to compete, we must upgrade our infrastructure and quit relying so much on fossil fuels and private automobiles. Proposition A positions St. Louis closer to peer cities who have already shown forethought in alternative transportation. Welcome to the "Portland, Oregon" club, St. Louis!
15 hours ago