Monday, December 11, 2017
 
NYT Calls DC Metro “A Grand Vision of Liberalism”, And Readers Reply “Say What?”

WASHINGTON, D.C. April 4 (DPI) – Leave it to The New York Times to throw a political log on the Washington Metro’s ever-burning maintenance problems, as it reported this weekend that the 40-year-old DC subway system is “a grand vision of American liberalism” that “has collided with reality.”

Many readers, somewhat reflexively, were put off by the partisan rhetoric, with many saying such editorializing was out of place. Three of the top five most-recommended reader comments challenged the notion that any rapid-transit and public infrastructure generally are somehow the product of a virtuous American left – and that the system was being starved by stingy Republicans.

Metro’s maintenance problems are well known and ongoing. New management of the DC system, installed last year, last month closed the system for an entire day to inspect tracks, a closure that went over surprisingly well with regular riders, most of whom applauded attempts to get to the bottom of safety issues.

But in recent days management has also suggested that some lines of the system may have to be closed for months for repairs. That latest announcement triggered a more harsh reaction in The Washington Post, and later the New York Times.

Metro’s problems stem from years of mismanagement, workforce ineptitude, deferred maintenance as well as lack of funding, which The Times was quick to blame on Republicans.

But the Metro, always heavily subsidized, has for years had little accountability or leadership, and its problems appear more a function of organizational disarray and lack of accountability than on any political conspiracy.

Highest recommended comment (350 reader recs) on NYTimes.com:

“A grand vision of American liberalism has collided with reality.”
I’ve read that line so many times and still don’t know what it means, but it annoys me none-the-less. If it is practical and meets the public’s needs it is “liberalism?” Is expecting untainted water out of pipes liberalism? What about highways that connect to one another? Or bridges between communities that stay aloft? What about a sports stadium?
You describe it as if it were a utopian adventure vs a necessary mode of transportation around a crowded city.

Two more of the top five most recommended:

Hmmm… I’ve used the DC Metro for some years without knowing it was “… a grand vision of American liberalism.” Is it “liberal” to move people efficiently and cost-effectively; people who work for private and public organizations, who are liberal, conservative and “other” in their political leanings; and who are students, tourists, seniors, blue and white collar workers? This is false labeling. It’s only “liberal” in the minds of some who think it should be run by a profit-making private entity. But there would be the same maintenance and safety issues, the same revenue/cost equation, and the same need for forward thinking. Simply, the Metro is neither liberal nor conservative; it is a key component of the area mass transit system that benefits millions of people annually and facilitates business, residential and educational concerns and recreational activity. Inflammatory labels are inappropriate and misapplied.

Liberalism has nothing to do with it. The system has been underfunded like many parts of the US public transport system (contrast the quality of NYC Metro North with the commuter rails systems running out of Rome, Paris or Berlin) and may have been mismanaged. Modern major cities can’t function without mass transit.

http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/5764/what-do-metro-employees-really-make/

 

 

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