Welcome to the Weekly Agitator: who and what you should be angry at, who and where people are organizing about it, and how you can find out more
MONTGOMERY COUNTY LOCAL
COUNTY COUNCIL FORUM IN WHITE OAK
WED March 14th meet at 6.45pm – White Oak
Montgomery County Council Town Hall
White Oak Recreation Center
1700 April Lane, in Silver Spring
An excellent opportunity to demand the County Council why the Amazon deal is being discussed behind closed doors.
Jeff Bezos Is Making an Insane $230,000 a Minute Right Now – Time
A controvesial proposal(s) to redirect funds from a highway extension sets of a series of testy exchanges at Montgomery County Council meeting: http://www.bethesdamagazine.com/Bethesda-Beat/2018/County-Council-Duels-Over-Montrose-Parkway-East-Funding-as-Amazon-Looms-Over-Debate/
In other transit news, Gaithersburg City Councilor Neil Harris asks why we should invest more in roads and car incentives rather than transit.
The argument is basically “its cheaper to subsidize carpooling than build mass transit,” but there’s a number of problems with this approach from a left-perspective.
To start with, Harris implies cost considerations in transit planning is somehow not “politically correct.” This is a pretty reactionary statement considering we’re living in a neoliberal era where price and market in public policy became a fetish from federal to municipal governments.
And sure, Harris can show it is cheaper to subsidies car travel over transit. But this is a short-sighted view of investing in urban growth.
For example, he implies that carpooling incentives for commuters will accomplish the same thing as buses, but that doesn’t bear out because people carpool with their peers. It’s not like people with office jobs are going to carpool with dishwashers. So the low-income workers who depend on the bus don’t benefit from that at all.
Only by focusing on cost considerations can car-based transit beat out public transit on metrics like safety, environmental sustainabiltiy, equity for users, and accessible urban growth. Harris doesn’t mention serious costs implications of the state further subsidising the automotive industy: the environmental cost of car construction, extraction and usage of automotive oil, paving and further expanding roadways, etc. etc.
Ultimately, it’s a 20th century worldview. Just because its a cheaper solution now, doesn’t mean that the solution is worth furthering the destruction of the human race by proping up our society dependence on fossil fuels.
Some good news! Same-day voter registration passes the House. Now on to the Senate…