Tags: washington dc | metro | bureaucrats

The DC Metro and Bureaucratic Fantasyland

Image: The DC Metro and Bureaucratic Fantasyland

People wait for a train on the Blue, Yellow and Silver line at the Metro Center station May 25, 2016, in Washington, D.C. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

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Wednesday, 09 Nov 2016 10:23 AM Current | Bio | Archive

The Washington D.C. region has a subway system referred to as the “Metro.” It’s designed to bring government bureaucrats into the District. There they push paper, write regulations, fight social injustice, and otherwise annoy productive taxpayers.

At the close of the business day (anywhere from noon to five, depending on the bureaucrat) the Metro returns them to the suburbs where they moved to avoid living in the type of environment government bureaucrats create.

Today Metro is in trouble. Ridership is down 15 percent in the last year alone and the system’s budget assumes it will decline an additional 5 percent from its 2009 peak during the next fiscal year. Normally this would mean uncrowded cars and plenty of room to stretch out for the remaining passengers, but that’s not the case here.

Since Metro is unionized and governed by a board of politicians, the operating philosophy has been keep wages high and maintenance expense low. If the Metro board had been running a cab company it would have paid Clinton Foundation salaries while not bothering to change the oil.

That’s why Metro is broken. Entire lines are shutdown for long overdue repair. Metro is cutting the number of trains during the day, reducing the speed on trains that do run, closing stations, and packing the remaining riders into the cars it can keep on the tracks.

Metro is well on its way to being the world’s first by-appointment-only subway system. It’s a bad situation that inspires equally bad thinking.

The editorial board of the Washington Post and Metro Board Chairman Jack Evans have come up with a solution to the problem that only magically-thinking leftists believe would work: A federal takeover.

Evidently they believe there is a hidden government that’s fast, efficient, and cost effective. This miracle government works like the checkout system at Amazon or the mechanics at Mercedes. According to Evans, this government, like Superman, will have “extraordinary powers.” Evans told the Washington Post Metro problems “can be solved only by a body strong enough to raise money, dismiss employees, cancel union contracts and streamline management.”

It should also have a $1 billion check stuck in its tights, too.

Only that federal government exists only in Evan’s single-payer fever dreams. The feds we have are the government that designed the Obamacare website, Amtrak’s bumper trains, and the FBI investigation of Hillary’s email.

It’s the federal government that can’t find a way to fire employees that watch porn on government time and on government computers. It’s the federal government that lets the phone in the veteran’s suicide hotline ring and ring and ring.

Furthermore, when it comes to transportation, the federal government can’t manage to keep the elevator running in the Washington Monument, much less oversee a subway system.

You’d think keeping the elevator running at a monument that’s a must–see stop for tourists foreign and domestic would be a top priority. But that only proves you’re not a federal bureaucrat.

WJLA has run the numbers and since May 2015 the elevator at the monument has been closed 21 times for repairs. Now the service has announced the elevator will be closed indefinitely. The Park service claims the problems date back to a 2011 earthquake that for some reason doesn’t appear to be bothering elevators in other buildings.

That closed the monument until 2013. It took 18 months to begin repair work — triple the length of time it takes to plan a repair in the private sector. The monument finally reopened, briefly, in 2014 and has been closed regularly since.

The only selling point Evans didn’t use in his advocacy for federal intervention was “if you like your subway car, you can keep it.”

Evans and the Post’s support for federal intervention is deeply hypocritical, in keeping with the left’s approach to politics. They cite as an example the success of the District of Columbia Financial Control Board that seized financial control of the District’s government in 1995.

Yet the only reason the board was appointed was Republicans had just taken over Congress. Democrats uniformly condemned the board as an undemocratic and bigoted seizure of power from the District’s elected representatives.

I think I recall hearing the word plantation used, too.

So here we are again with a leftist Democrat-controlled arm of the government that is dangerous, profligate, and financially unsound. Their solution is to surrender power to an even more profligate and mismanaged federal government that has the advantage of nationwide taxing power.

The only solution with a long-term chance of success would be selling Metro. States across the nation have sold turnpikes to private interests. If government can sell highways, government can sell tracks.

Michael R. Shannon is a commentator, researcher for the League of American Voters, and an award-winning political and advertising consultant with nationwide and international experience. He is author of "Conservative Christian’s Guidebook for Living in Secular Times (Now with added humor!)." Read more of Michael Shannon's reports — Go Here Now.

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MichaelShannon
The only solution with a long-term chance of success would be selling Metro. States across the nation have sold turnpikes to private interests. If government can sell highways, government can sell tracks.
washington dc, metro, bureaucrats
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2016-23-09
Wednesday, 09 Nov 2016 10:23 AM
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