[LMB] OT: Transportation and others (long)

Paula Lieberman paal at gis.net
Sun Sep 7 14:09:23 BST 2008


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Damien Sullivan" <phoenix at ugcs.caltech.edu>


> On Sat, Sep 06, 2008 at 06:12:48PM -0600, William A Wenrich wrote:
>
>> People did not switch to private transportation because they were forced 
>> to;
>> they switched because it was more practical. Short of government force,
>
> Somewhat true, but there's also aspects of government subsidies of
> car-friendy sprawl, and local governments allegedly ripping up their

Allegations?    A tire company, Standard Oil, and another company were 
convicted and fined for their actually conspiring and carrying out in the 
Los Angeles area the buying up of the streetcar company and dismantling it 
to make profies on tires, gasoline, and cars....

> streetcars at oil company urging, thus making the cars more necessary.
> And cultural things like advertising and extolling of the suburbs,

Another factor was like the likes of GE and Westinghouse which saw houses as 
engines for selling more refrigerators, freezers, stoves, washing machines, 
driers, and other "home appliances" large and small.  Smaller urban 
dwellings with communal laundry areas cut down the sales and profit 
opportunies, and communal cooking facilities were anathema for the same 
reason.... (in the Middle East in Fustat a thousand years ago, most of the 
cooking was done by vendors, not by private individuals/families at home)

> demonization of the city, and urban destruction via urban renewal and
> public housing projects making the demonization somewhat accurate.  When
> you pay people to spread out, destroy the old public transit, and rip
> out old urban neighborhoods, individual choices of cars looks less
> spontaneous.
>
> Government building of the interstates, and perhaps declining support
> for the old rail lines, would also be a factor.

The rail lines were still in use when shut down... I remember my uncle being 
very annoyed at the shutdown of commuter rail from the center of Woburn, 
Massachusetts, to Boston.

>> what is "best." I am in favor of freedom.  The government subsidy and
>> regulations do nothing but distort the market.
>
> Lots of subsidies all around.
>
>> People have been talking about wind power. Large scale wind power 
>> requires
>> subsidy to  compete with other forms of energy. Small scale or remote
>> applications (it's great for pumping water for cattle) may be different, 
>> but
>> the figures I heard are for a 250 year payback on the investment. 
>> Provided
>
> Whereas I've heard wind's costs per kilowatt-hour are down around coal
> by now, which makes the 250 year payback rather unlikely.  And there's
> the subsidy coal and oil get of being allowed to dump CO2 and other
> pollutants into the atmosphere and oceans.




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