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Archive for March 29th, 2008

In response to this question in my environmental economics class:

Mass transit critics frequently point out that while automobile use is
subsidized, transit is subsidized at even higher levels. Riders often
pay substantially less than half the operating costs. Many communities
offer even some transit services for free (like the Gold Rush at UNC
Charlotte and in Uptown), or at near free fares, to entice people onto
trolleys, buses, and trains. Is this an example of imperfect government
intervention preventing the free market from influencing transportation
choices?

Every road and freeway built that doesn’t have a toll
is a subsidy for driving. While road proponents point out that gas
taxes pay the price for roads, these taxes mainly cover costs of
freeways.
There are still many shortfalls and subsidies. A society dependent on
cars requires cities’ general funds to pay for local streets, traffic
lights, policing, and the many other costs of the automobile.
Externalities generated by vehicle transportation (pollution,
opportunity cost of driving and deaths from automobile accidents to
name a few) are almost entirely negative, increasing the net cost of
roads to society.

As the Federal Transit Authority (FTA) and
cities subsidize mass transit they are making alternate transportation
choices, and specifically mass transit, cost effective and competitive
in order to compensate for the billions of government dollars used in
subsidizing roads. Local or Federal Government actions like subsidizing
walkable communities and building transit systems focused on rail may
seem expensive because a total and all-inclusive price tag can be
assigned to these projects. Price tags which aid the perception that
the cost is significantly more than the benefits or alternatives like
road-building. When the true cost of a road project is evaluated with
an understanding of externalities, the mass transit or walkable
infrastructure investments become the most efficient solution despite
the government dollars required.

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A few days ago I hit 200,000 visitors to my blog! Thanks for visiting and I hope you’ve enjoyed the random posts I make over the last few years.

As you can see, I’m pretty excited about it

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Now that Tim Ernst is taking over for me at the end of the month as the new UNC Charlotte student body president, I wanted to post all of our campaign videos in one place… because they are awesome. If anyone knows of campaign videos from other student body president campaigns, please post them in the comments section.

Tim is the new student body president at UNC Charlotte, and has been featured in two years worth of election videos including my campaign last year.

A video from the SGA Public Relations Committee

Ernst-Pierce for Campus Safety

Ritchie-Ernst for UNC Charlotte’s Future

The Making of Ritchie-Ernst for UNC Charlotte’s Future

Vote Justin Ritchie for Student Body President

Vote Ritchie-Ernst in the runoff!

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It is so great to be out of my old apartment complex

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