If it is useless and expensive, let’s have more of it

The closest thing to eternal life on earth is a Government Program” – Ronald Reagan

One of America’s greatest presidents hit the nail on the head when he made that comment many years ago.

Case in point, Jacksonville’s ill-fated Skyway.

Civic leaders and politicians took the bait when the federal government offered free money 50 years ago for cities that would build elevated mass transit systems.

Jacksonville didn’t have the density or traffic that would justify such a boondoggle, but it was free money so the city applied for a grant and was one of seven cities to get one.

The big attraction was that U.S. taxpayers would pay the capital cost and local taxpayers would only have to pay for operating the system.

Originally called the “people mover,” it would have more than 1.2 million trips every year, happy planners theorized.

In reality, it has less than a third that many after more than three decades in operation.

This is true even though about 10 years ago the Skyway was bringing in so little revenue that the Jacksonville Transportation Authority quit charging fares and no one has to pay to ride.

Like the ancient els in big cities such as New York, the ugly tracks darken the streets and hamper surface traffic.

The 2.5 mile line has been called the “train to nowhere.”

Tampa had one and tore it down after a few years.

In Jacksonville, the transportation wizards said it would cost $150 million to tear the Skyway down so they are going to spend $250 million to expand it instead.

You can’t make this stuff up.

JTA will follow current fads by using battery-operated, driverless buses. They will go from the streets up onto the el and then down again. It will have a jazzy new name: U2C, which means Ultimate Urban Circulator.

Like the Skyway, it will rely on “free” money from the federal government.

Jacksonville had a well-functioning transit system of buses, taxis and streetcars before World War II, when people actually used mass transit.

Around 1970, it was dying so a private company dumped the bus system on the city, at a fancy price. Today, taxpayers make a donation every time someone rides a bus.

Liberals push mass transit relentlessly. They hate the automobile, which is one of the greatest contributions to individual freedom in history. It allows people to go where they want when they want.

Therefore, the auto must be eliminated and the masses must be forced into mass transit where they can be controlled more effectively by elites who ride in chauffeured limousines.

Lloyd Brown

Lloyd was born in Jacksonville. Graduated from the University of North Florida. He spent nearly 50 years of his life in the newspaper business …beginning as a copy boy and retiring as editorial page editor for Florida Times Union. He has also been published in a number of national newspapers and magazines, as well as Internet sites. Married with children. Military Vet. Retired. Man of few words but the words are researched well, deeply considered and thoughtfully written.

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