Friday, January 25, 2008

Bushist Ideology Runs Rampant Over Any Sense Whatsoever

The front page of the Washington Post today reports that the current US Transportation Secretary, Susan Peters, has thrown up impossible barriers to allowing the US government to provide $900 million out of an estimated $5 billion to extend a metro line from Washington through now-unserved Tyson's Corner to the area's main airport, Dulles International, far west of town. This project has been in the planning for 40 years, is supported by local politicians in all jurisdictions of both parties, plus local business people, would help the environment, reduce congestion, and end the absurdity of Washington being the only major capital city in the world from which an international traveler cannot get to downtown from its main airport by public transport. As it is, there is a monopoly on transport for the Washington Flyer, and one hears announcements over the loudspeakers asking people to report to the police anybody daring to offer one a cab or other kind of ride out of Dulles not from Washington Flyer, the only "approved" transport from the airport.

This decision is totally and utterly ideological, with Peters being an advocate of paid toll roads, automobile uber alles. Those involved in the negotiations have complained of "goal posts constantly being moved" with the various local governments having jumped through endless hoops to satisfy the DOT. This is one more sign of how much damage Bush can still do to US society and economy in the year he still has to remain in office as president, and given his appointments to the Supreme Court, for decades to come. (I am not against congestion tolls as are in place in London and Singapore, but those places provide good metro transport from their airports as well)

6 comments: said...

A correction. The name of the Secretary of Transportation is Mary Peters. Also, the actual announcement came from her underling, James S. Simpson, Director of the Federal Transportion Agency. Governor Tim Kaine of Virginia reports that in the final meeting on Thursday, Simpson and his people were raising new objections that had not been raised previously, hence all the talk of "moving goalposts." However, all concerned see Simpson as simply mirroring the views of Peters, who is openly against public funding for mass transit infrastructure.


Anonymous said...

"This is one more sign of how much damage Bush can still do to US society and economy in the year he still has to remain in office as president"

I tremendously underestimated the damage Bush Co. was capable of his first term in office, even as much as I disagreed with his ideology. I'm surprised anyone is still making that mistake.

Myrtle Blackwood said...

I wonder why Norman Mineta, the previous US Secretary of Transportation resigned. And I also wonder why the Washington Post presented a totally different version of Mineta's evidence given at the 911 Commission?

"September 11

During the September 11, 2001 attacks, Mineta issued an order to ground all civilian aircraft traffic for the first time in U.S. history.

Mineta's testimony to the 9/11 Commission about his experience in the Presidential Emergency Operating Center with vice president Cheney as American Airlines flight 77 approached the Pentagon was not included in the 9/11 Commission Report, however it has attracted attention for its content.

There was a young man who had come in and said to the vice president, 'The plane is 50 miles out. The plane is 30 miles out.' And when it got down to, 'The plane is 10 miles out,' the young man also said to the vice president, 'Do the orders still stand?' And the vice president turned and whipped his neck around and said, 'Of course the orders still stand. Have you heard anything to the contrary?' Well, at the time I didn't know what all that meant. And...

– Norman Mineta,

Mineta's testimony to the Commission on Flight 77 differs rather significantly from the account provided in the January 22, 2002 edition of the Washington Post, as reported by Bob Woodward and Dan Balz in their series "10 Days in September":
“ 9:32 a.m.

The Vice President in Washington: Underground, in Touch With Bush

Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta, summoned by the White House to the bunker, was on an open line to the Federal Aviation Administration operations center, monitoring Flight 77 as it hurtled toward Washington, with radar tracks coming every seven seconds. Reports came that the plane was 50 miles out, 30 miles out, 10 miles out-until word reached the bunker that there had been an explosion at the Pentagon.

Mineta shouted into the phone to Monte Belger at the FAA: "Monte, bring all the planes down." It was an unprecedented order-there were 4,546 airplanes in the air at the time. Belger, the FAA's acting deputy administrator, amended Mineta's directive to take into account the authority vested in airline pilots. "We're bringing them down per pilot discretion," Belger told the secretary.

"[Expletive] pilot discretion," Mineta yelled back. "Get those goddamn planes down."

Sitting at the other end of the table, Cheney snapped his head up, looked squarely at Mineta and nodded in agreement.

—Dan Balz and Bob Woodward, said...

For what it is worth, Mineta was the token Democrat in Bush's cabinet in his first term, indeed I think the only one he has had in his cabinet at all in either term. Usually most presidents will have somebody from the other party in their cabinet pretty much all the time.


John Emerson said...

I just took a long trip. From the Portland airport to town, $15.00 (could have been $1.90). From the Minneapolis airport to town, $1.50. From Manhattan to Kennedy airport, $13.00. From DC to NYC by bus, $20.

Dulles to DC, $55.00. Unbelievable.

There must be a Senator behind this. said...

Not a senator. A president and his Secretary of Transportation and Director of Federal Transportation Agency, playing ideolgoical games. People in Northern Virginia are simply stunned by this. It is coming out that businesses and households have spent millions of dollars preparing for this metro line. Of course the FTA/DOT people are not counting benefits of reduced air pollution or traffic congestion or any of it. This is one of the stupidest and least defensible things I have seen coming out of an administration that has generated one hell of a lot of such stupid and indefensible things.