Just to take a break from some campaign politics for the nonce, let's take a look at some actual policy. Got a question on a previous thread about whether I'd ride the choo-choo to the ATL. (I had mentioned that I'm not a supporter of the Brain Train.)
So let's talk about the Brain Train for a second, and I'll tell you why I'm not supporting it. There are basically two reasons, one practical, one fiscal.
The practical reason is that I just don't think the BT is going to go anywhere I need to go in Atlanta, except for the airport. Folks, Atlanta is all sprawled out. (I know, shocking.) To get anywhere, you either need effective public transportation or you need a car. Now, effective public transportation is something I do support, and very strongly. But Atlanta doesn't have it yet, and I don't know if they will even in my lifetime. Try to get the rich folks in North Fulton to let MARTA come in and see how far you get. Gwinnett County is also severely lacking in that department. So, I wouldn't take the choo-choo to Atlanta, because it's easier to drive my car to where I need to go rather than braintrain it to a central hub and take my chances with public transporation which may or may not go where I need it to go.
To a certain extent, then, I think that pushing the Brain Train through right now is really putting the cart ahead of the horse. Regional public transportation is great, but we need the local public transportation to support it in place first. I don't believe that Atlanta is there yet.
Here's a little bit of a sociological sub-reason to this as well. Americans, and especially those who live in the South and West, are ingrained with car culture. Now, that's not necessarily a good thing, but it is what it is. You'll need a sweeping change in the cultural zeitgeist to overcome that, and it won't happen overnight or even over a generation. So, even having the Brain Train in place doesn't guarantee that people will use it, and most people probably won't.
Now my fiscal reason is a little simpler. Friends, I love public transportation, but we cannot afford this right now. Estimates vary on the cost of this project, but it's going to be expensive. Legislators, do me a favor, please. Put that money into health care, into PeachCare, into public education, or helping small businesses stay afloat in the first few years of existence. Hell, put the money into helping local governments fund more and better public transportation on the local level. I'd love to buy the choo-choo, but we've got other more pressing problems to pay for first. The revenue to pay for choo-choos has to come from one or both of only two sources - either cut spending or raise taxes. I'm not a huge fan of the latter, for obvious reasons, and while I favor spending cuts, this legislature tends to pull money out of things like, oh, I don't know, having enough teachers, or making sure your kids can see the doctor.
Friends, I'm convincable on this issue. I'm open to debate, and I'd like to know why I should get behind the choo-choo, but right now...well, not so much.