To the editor:
The City Commission majority is on track to abolish both T and T-lift with a clever triple whammy while deflecting ostensible responsibility onto voters. First, the T was singled out for a do-or-die sales tax referendum during a recession. Second, even if the referendum passes there won't be enough money to maintain the system next year. Third, the uncertainty will prevent the planned association with KU on Wheels.
While I dislike both the goal and the approach, it's within traditional standards for American hardball politics. Yet the rest of the country is responding to gasoline prices and global warming by ramping up public transit. A poll in March reported a majority of Lawrencians supporting the T. The interesting question is, why are these commissioners being so retrograde?
There is the matter of personal experience. No commissioner who opposes the T is poor or handicapped or underaged or otherwise dependent on the T. But that's hardly a complete explanation. A majority of Lawrencians support the T without using it. Ideological motives must be at stake.
For example, the commission majority was elected while accepting substantial funds from real estate development interests - funds presumably donated because the commissioners' ideologies supported those interests. Lawrence developers make most of their money by building sprawling auto-dependent suburban landscapes that resist mass transit. Developers are a natural enemy of transit.
I'm not attacking the commissioners for accepting ideologically charged money. That's basic to American politics. I'm attacking them for having a bad ideology.
(Disclosure of interest: I sometimes ride the T-lift.)