Thanks to federal stimulus dollars being scattered willy-nilly across the nation, the Upstate South Carolina communities of Simpsonville and Mauldin are reconsidering mass transit options previously rejected as economically unfeasible.
The Mauldin City Council voted unanimously recently to enter into an agreement with the city of Greenville’s Greenlink bus system to perform a feasibility study for the proposed line, and the Simpsonville council could vote next month to sign the same agreement, which would allow the cities to apply for $1.2 million in the Obama Administration’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, according to The Greenville News.
This despite the fact that such options were studied and rejected in 2005 due to operational cost concerns.
The $1.2 million is available without a local match, and the Federal Transit Administration has designated $855,000 annually to pay for the service, Gardner said. The state would chip in $138,000 annually, Simpsonville Mayor Russell Hawes told The Greenville News.
So, the federal government would pony up $1.2 million initially and the Federal Transit Administration and the State of South Carolina would be on the hook for nearly $1 million annually, which would cover all start-up and operational costs.
Sounds like a great deal for Mauldin and Simpsonville, doesn’t it? Maybe it is for the communties’ political leaders, the companies that would get the contracts connected to the addition of mass transit, and the handful of individuals who would use the buses, but that’s about it.
Rest assured that any mass transportation operation that is completely subsidized by tax dollars is not only going to be inefficient, it’s going to probably cost a lot more than the initial estimates.
Businesses succeed or fail because of what they do right or wrong, and how consumers react. A subsidized operation has no need to be responsive to customers because its bottom lines isn’t directly tied to satisfying consumer demands. If mass transit in those areas weren’t economically feasible previously, it’s hard to see how that’s changed simply because tax dollars are being offered.
No matter what the folks in Washington, DC - or Mauldin and Simpsonvile – may want to believe, there’s still no such thing as a free lunch.
Ask the average person about Henry VIII, the English monarch who assumed the throne 500 years ago last week, and most will know little more than that he had a lot of wives, a falling out with the Catholic Church over the issue of divorce and was rather fond of turkey drumsticks.
Too bad, because there was a lot more to the man whom some consider England’s most important ruler.
Henry was educated, handsome and athletic, and one of the first individuals to play the game of tennis. He played the harp, wrote music and loved dancing, poetry and fine dining. He also excelled in Latin, math and astronomy, according to this profile in WalesOnline.
Of course, he had a dark side, as well. In addition to sending two of his six queens to the executioner - Anne Boleyn and Kathryn Howard – he executed more English notables than any other monarch before or since: one cardinal, more than 20 members of the peerage, four prominent public servants, six of the king’s close attendants and friends, three mitred abbots and various heads of major monastic houses.
“Henry is not only England’s best-known king, but with his wives, his girth and his bloodthirstiness – he is also our most important single ruler,” historian Dr. David Starkey told WalesOnline.
“When he came to the throne, Henry was the Pious Prince who ruled an England at the heart of Catholic Europe; when he died, he was the Great Schismatic, who had created a national Church and an insular, xenophobic politics that shaped the development of England for the next 500 years,” Dr. Starkey added.
A recent headline regarding automaker Chrysler’s future reads: “Chrysler, Treasury still talking.”
Yes, of course they are, although one suspects that it’s Treasury that’s doing the talking while Chrysler is nodding and taking notes. That’s usually what happens when one party (Chrysler) is on the hook for $4 billion to another party (Treasury).
The federal government wants to keep Chrysler out of bankruptcy and may pony up another $6 billion-plus to the automaker, but not without a whole slew of new strings attached: “Chrysler must take on Fiat as a partner, cut debt and reduce labor costs by next Thursday if it wants another $6 billion,” according to The Associated Press.
So here’s where we are: the government is asking one struggling car maker to take on another struggling car maker as a partner, requiring the combined company to cut additional debt while hoping it can somehow become viable, and asking it to reduce labor costs (something not exactly near and dear to the heart of auto unions).
The only thing missing is a government-mandated stipulation that would force Chrysler to let one of President Obama’s daughters design the company’s next new model.
Yes, this is going to end well.