Saturday, November 01, 2008

BRT: "It doesn't make financial or environmental sense"

Thanks to Peter Smith at San Francisco Bike Blog for the link to this critique of BRT in Canada:

I think I finally have this Bus Rapid Transit thing figured out. For years I've been applying evidence-based thinking, business-case modelling and rationale to the proposal to build a dedicated roadway beside Pembina Highway for diesel buses. I've read all the reports, interviewed the chief proponents and asked Winnipeg Transit officials dozens of questions over the years about how this would work. And it has always led any fair-minded person to the obvious conclusion: It doesn't make financial or environmental sense to spend $330 million on a dedicated roadway for diesel buses alongside Pembina Highway that would, at best, only marginally improve what we already have.


Obama as "transformational leader"

Veteran political operative Clint Reilly gets it about Obama, who he sees as a "transformational figure" in American history:

Seasoned campaign watchers are stunned. I’ve never witnessed anything like it, and I ran political campaigns for two decades. I doubt anyone else has seen anything like it either, including the surviving veterans of the 1960 presidential campaign. Obama’s 100,000 person crowd in Missouri and $150 million September haul are signs that we are witnessing the elevation of an historic figure. Obama began as the personification of Democrats’ mistrust in their own ability to create desperately needed change. (Why not just crown Hillary?) But he has morphed into more than a vehicle of protest. One senses that history has anointed him. Events have conspired to confirm his critique of a faltering America---first articulated more than two years ago---long before the financial heart attack that recently struck the country.

I remember the 1960 campaign well; I even went to a Kennedy speech in 1959, before he was officially a candidate for president. I particularly recall the Nixon/Kennedy debate on TV, which showed the country that Kennedy was somethng new and special. But JFK, a brilliant political talent, now is significant more as an example of blighted promise rather than a leader who transformed the country. Obama is the real deal, and---like Lincoln and FDR---he's emerged when the country needs him most.

And I write this in spite of the fact that it puts me in agreement with Mark Morford, which admittedly gave me pause.

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