How We Roll, Nov. 10: will Trump come through for transit and transpo?

Things to listen to whilst transiting:How did the media — how did we — get this so wrong?,” a podcast by three journalists who work on the New York Time’s Run-Up podcast. Recorded about 3 a.m. on Election Night, the trio (mostly) show the kind of humility that is appropriate considering their unrelenting and incorrect predictions of who would win the presidential race.

And since they’re asking how they got it wrong, I’ll use my perch as Fired Journalist/Government Blogger to provide three answers:

1) Stop wasting so much money on using digital data experts to predict the outcome of elections. We don’t need countless predictions and surveys about the daily/hourly mood of the electorate. We need those reporters mining the kind of data that tells stories about the world we live in so that we can make informed decisions on policy and candidates, and;

2) Put reporters in cities across the U.S. — put ’em in Des Moines, Albuquerque, Cincinnati, Nashville, Bismark, Omaha, etc. Get to know America. You may be pleasantly surprised. Where to get the money to do this? A) Stop giving away your product for free, and; B) The paycheck of every useless/redundant assistant managing editor usually = two to three smart young reporters.

3) Don’t confuse a government program that sounds like the right thing to do with a government program that is actually working. Unleash your Nates on that.

Sermon over.

Department of Hey Please Read That Thing I Wrote: Once again, Los Angeles County embraces a bold choice when it comes to mobility. And if you do read it, I’d be curious to know whether you agree or not. Comment or drop me an email if you don’t feel like going toe-to-toe with someone who has memorized a century’s worth of bus serial numbers.

U.S. cities, spurned by Washington, fund transit themselves (Wired) 

Mass transit won big on Election Day. But it could still lose (Citylab) 

What Trump, Clinton agreed on: better infrastructure (NYT)

The fear, among some, is this: federal investments in transportation — and especially transit — have declined in recent decades and they could decline further under President-elect Trump and a Congress with Republican majorities. The articles from Wired and Citylab work this premise, noting that many projects need both local and federal funding to get built.

That said, it’s worth noting that mass transit — as always — was basically a non-issue during the campaign season that spanned the past 18 to 24 months. From the NYT story:

“Local regions with some vision are taking matters into their own hands and going directly to the voters to try to tackle real local problems,” said Peter Rogoff, the chief executive of Sound Transit, the transportation agency serving multiple counties in the Seattle region.

While Mr. Trump did not specifically mention trains or buses during his brief victory speech, he said during the campaign that he supported spending money on transit. As a resident of New York City and a real estate developer, Mr. Trump appears to understand how important public transit is for cities, said Art Guzzetti, the vice president of policy for the American Public Transportation Association.

Metro and Sound Transit had the two largest transit ballot measures that were successful on Tuesday. It’s worth noting that Rogoff was the former head of the Federal Transit Administration, meaning he understands the funding issues. I also think it’s worth noting that both Metro and the Measure M political campaign both went big on the jobs message, saying that M would create 465,000 jobs. Jobs, too, were a big part of the Trump and Hillary Clinton campaigns, as they are all presidential campaigns.

So we’ll see. Republicans have done well in rural areas, where transit is understandably not much of an issue. But perhaps this time around there’s an intersection of interests that will keep the federal money flowing to transit at current rates (I’m too skeptical to expect an increase) and help everyone gain something worthwhile: mobility, jobs and a chance to maybe reduce the impacts of global warming.

The alternative: a no one loses unless everyone loses scenario.

Art of Transit — superb photograph!

Santa Monica voters reject anti-development measure (LAT)

The measure would have greatly scaled back the size of buildings that could be constructed in the city of Santa Monica. A similar measure is due to go to city of Los Angeles voters next spring.

My three cents: I don’t think these type of initiatives are as popular as they may have been in the past when their backers often pointed to traffic as the reason to stop building. It’s not that traffic has disappeared, but I think people better understand that growth is still going to occur — if not in their city, near enough to spill over into their city.

And folks understand that the traffic impact of residential developments isn’t the same as that of commercial developments, where cars are constantly coming and going. Plus, this little fact: in Santa Monica and elsewhere, a lot of near development is being built near transit giving at least some folks an alternative to driving everywhere.

Still fighting the Election Blues? Pssst…Watch some goalie fights! The boss isn’t looking. And it’s almost five o’clock!

L.A. votes to spend $1.2 billion to house the homeless (LAT)

Not a transit story per se, but this could certainly have an impact on transit given the many homeless who use local transit. Under Measure HHH, a new property tax will be levied in the city of Los Angeles to build about one thousand new apartments per year with the city offering some parcels at possible sites.

Will it work? Hard to say, given the number of homeless here. Do I want it to work? I think we all pray it will given the rise of homeless encampments in so many places from the city to the ‘burbs to the public lands in our local mountains.


I should have included this with my attempt at a Measure M think-piece. A nice little nod toward our own little corner of the world from the Boss’ Boss, followed by the Boss’ take on it.

And, finally, some Veteran’s Day music from the Boss himself:


1 reply

  1. I read How We Roll regularly, and am a fan. Mixing in pop culture to HWR is fine. But, I think your sermon in the first section strayed too far away from transportation topics into the more generally political. Otherwise, keep up the good work.