By David Levinson and David King.
Today Republicans are associated with roads (and “free” roads at that). The reasons we hear from politically connected folks are their constituency drives cars, and they don’t want to subsidize inefficient “toy” trains. The business community, traditionally Republicans, does support transit investment as a public amenity they don’t have to pay for.
It should be noted the late, racist, Republican, rail-advocate Paul Weyrich continues to be trotted out by “conservatives“. Weyrich was embraced by the rail community despite admitting his “sordid grab bag of lamentable beliefs”. His argument was that trains serve white middle class republican voters, so (a) Republicans should support their constituency (not much about actual core values of balancing budgets or efficiency required), and (b) rail advocates should accept the support as the coalition to build trains needed to be large due to their large public cost.
To the extent Republicans uphold the value of “Fraternity” and support the existing “Social Order” they should endorse buses.
Why Republicans should like buses
- Buses are much less expensive to build than rail, and thus much more cost effective per passenger served in most markets. If you are a Republican who wants to provide public services (that is, you believe in governing as the outcome of victory), you want to provide them effectively.
- Bus transit helps more lower income workers get to jobs than a similar investment in rail in most places. Employed people have a stake in the system.
- Republicans can foster the many private bus operators serving US cities, including many of the suburban bus companies.
- By supporting buses Republicans can show that they care about an actual problem their constituents have and work to improve how bus service is supplied.
Political Parties, Three-Axes, And Public Transport