TANSTAFP

2005-05-03

Those of a libertarian persuasion generally don't like so-called public transportation (a.k.a. "mass transit" -- subways, trains, streetcars, and the like). Over time I've started to wonder why. It's not as if "individual transit" (cars) is not also subsidized in this ever-more-mixed economy we find ourselves in. Heck, right now your tax dollars and mine are going to pay for a multi-billion-dollar road expansion through the southern end of the Denver metropolitan area, all to be owned and run by that bugaboo of libertarian thinking: the government. So where were those freedom-loving libertarians raising a hue and cry when T-REX was approved? They sure complained loud and hard about the more recent FasTracks plan for more light rail lines in and around town.

Now comes UCLA urban planning professor, who argues in his new book that free parking ain't free -- in fact, it's just another subsidy to people who drive cars. Add in all the road and street construction, energy bills that favor oil companies, subsidies for car companies, and wars fought over oil, and you begin to see that American car culture is not the bastion of individual freedom it's made out to be.

To paraphrase Robert Heinlein: "There ain't no such thing as free parking."


Peter Saint-Andre > Journal