Jayne Privatizing public transport goes against common good

first_imgGreg Jayne, Opinion page editor It is an age-old issue, dating back to when Kusk the Greater complained that taxes were too high for using water from the Tigris River.Well, that’s just a hunch; we aren’t exactly experts on Mesopotamia. But we’re pretty sure the history of civilization can be boiled down to one question: How much are we willing to personally sacrifice for the common good?It is this question that defines many of our political debates. For example, is it worth it for the United States to spend $700 billion a year on the military? Of course not. That is an asinine amount, more than the next 10 countries combined. But what about roads and schools and police departments and parks, the kind of things that are supported by tax dollars and define the difference between civilization and philistinism? That is a good question, yet it is one for another time.Because today we come to talk about public transit, a subject that inevitably touches upon the question regarding common good and its corollary of whether or not government should be run like a business. Businesses, you see, go out of, um, business if they spend more money than they bring in, which means that public transit would have gone the way of the horse-and-buggy about the time horses and buggies went away.Such is the case for C-Tran, the bus service that runs through most of Clark County and makes excursions over to Portland. C-Tran, according to its 2016 financial statement, has a Farebox Recovery Ratio of 20.6 percent, which is a fancy way of saying about 80 percent of its operations are subsidized by taxpayers. In 2016, the agency saw 5.6 million boardings, a noticeable drop from 6.6 million as recently as 2012.last_img read more