The NYT orders itself a double shot of Obvious at the Journalism Bar with a news story that highlights failing mass transit systems in Boston, New York and Washington D.C. Here are the key paragraphs, buried after columns of color quotes from frustrated riders etc. etc.:
One of the most vexing questions is how to pay to fix infrastructure. With federal transit funding essentially flat, many states and cities are grappling with how to cover improvements on their own.
Some experts have called for increasing the federal gasoline tax — which has remained the same since 1993 — or raising state gas taxes, sales taxes or tolls for highways and bridges. Many praise the so-called value-capture approach, which allows cities to pay for projects by recovering tax revenue generated from new development.
“You either pay now or pay later,” Richard A. White, acting president of the American Public Transportation Association, said. “The more you stick your head in the sand on this issue, the worse the problems are going to become.”
Unstated conclusion: in the present climate, public ownership does not yield sufficient capital to maintain these vital systems. Structural reform is required for any substantive changes.