The Bay Area Bridge Trolls

This morning’s Chron notes that the Democratic leader, Burton, announced that he is O.K. with $4 bridge tolls for the San Francisco Bay Area, adding another dollar to pay for the cost over-runs on the Bay Bridge upgrade.

Tolls have just gone up from $2 to $3 to fund a new transit scam. Mass transit is, of course, highly favored by the governing liberal elite and wanna-be elite in the Bay Area. Well, not for themselves, of course, just so the folks who are clogging up the highways take transit and get out of the way of the superior classes. The bureaucrats were therefore able to get voters to approve a bridge toll increase to fund transit improvements. Blithely ignoring the transit white elephants in the area, such as the San Jose light rail, more money is poured into the transit sinkhole. Bay Area transit ridership has not increased in 20 years, I guess there are too many elites and not enough peasants who can be forced into cattle cars.

Mass transit has an average cost per passenger mile four times that of private cars (DoT) and is, of course, also slower and less reliable. In the South Bay, for example, VTA (the local transit authority) can only recoup 15% of its expenses at the farebox. We would be better off if they simply handed out free cab charge slips. But that would mean fewer union jobs and fewer bureaucrats – can’t have that. See “Basic Business Models”.

So every commuter will be charged another $200 -$250 per year. No problem. Hah. Take a commuting employee making, say, $70,000. With both Federal and California taxes – 37.3% – the two increases this year amount to a $750+ salary decrease, or more than 1% just from bridge tolls. Of course, he’s just a peasant in an area where a member of the public service union elite such as a firefighter can expect to make $150,000 a year (and retire on almost full salary at 50). This is the way economies get killed.

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