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May 31, 2008

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Freemarket

I am not following your logic with regard to the buses. Bus shuttles to Orioles games are obviously not profitable, so Mr. Eyre wants a contract with the State to compensate him for the risk he takes in providing the service. How does this in any way invalidate Kittleman’s argument? Do you think that the State could provide bus services more efficiently or cheaper than a private company?

What is going on here is that you want shuttles to the O’s games regardless of how economically inefficient it is, and Kittleman does not. To criticize AK for wanting to do things efficiently is odd.

Marshmallow Man

No, I'm criticizing AK for his "yellow pages" way of thinking.

Forget the single example of the Orioles shuttles. Mass transit is not profitable. Should, therefore, all mass transit be eliminated? During Bob Flanagan's team as State Transportation Secretary, rates for all forms of mass transit were increased and services cut. And I will say that a certain amount of streamlining to MTA services was overdue. But the MTA became no less "unprofitable" (if that word exists.

I worked for the Federal government for 9 years, and were involved in contracts up to 8 figures in annual dollars. I have little doubt that independently, small business can provide services better than government. Just on the basis of overhead and fixed costs, small business just can do things less expensively.

But Government doesn't think about that in letting out contracts. Government-- at least my experience-- scores proposals based on it's own idea of how much a contract should cost. I have seen bidders rejected because their prices are deemed "too low" to be reasonable.

So I can't blame Jim Eyre for wanting a government contract for a service that he could begin to provide tomorrow if he wanted. It's more lucrative. So I agree with you on that score.

However, Kittleman's view is that government should stay out of the transit business. That is my main critique.

Freemarket

Subsidized mass transit can be justified in many cases. Just as the government subsidizes roads, there may be justification to subsidize public transportation (particularly if such methods of public transport are natural monopolies, such as metro or light rail). But decisions on what types of transportation to subsidize under what conditions should be made on the margin. To suggest as Senator Robey did, that if we reject subsidized transportation to Orioles games that in principle we are simultaneously rejecting all forms of mass transit, is just plain stupid. In other words, the merits of subsidizing travel to O’s games on buses should be measured independently of other forms of publicly subsidized travel.

My point is that nothing can be inferred about Kittleman’s take on public transit from this sole example.

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