More on “Transport as Utility”

Fred Salvucci, former Massachusetts Secretary of Transportation, and now at MIT writes in a comment on Transport as Utility:

This topic is very interesting. Our electric utility systems fail temporarily and rarely, and we are so shocked that there are political investigations when it happens. (Why did it take so long to restore service? Why did the disruption occur to begin with?) A few decades ago there was serious discussion of lifeline concepts to provide some base access to water or electricity, at low rates for everyone, but much higher marginal rates for usage above the base amount, so. One could introduce progressivity, and feedback against excessive use fairly efficiently.

Our transportation systems fail persistently to provide even basic service to the entire jurisdiction, and are dominated by history, ( let us do tomorrow what we did yesterday for a cost not too much higher than the rate of inflation, and we will be considered a success). Political control of gas taxes and transit fares heve led rates to rise much slower than inflation, with substantial lags between catastrophic failures, and severely constrained quality and quantity of service as a result, generally reducing accessibility in very uneven ways. It seems extremely worthwhile to explore in a serious and detailed way the possibility of treating transportation as a utility.