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  1. Political rants in decent threads are now out of hand (and I'll admit to being one of the worst offenders). I really don't enjoy political discussions, but it really is a fundamental aspect of discussions of development at every scale so it unfortunately leads us away from the specific topic of the threads. So, in an effort to minimize OT digressions in substantive threads I am going to (hopefully) move my rants here so the discussion can be easily ignored by non-participants and other sensible folk. From the Streetcar thread: As I said before, the private streetcar companies had several advantages that are difficult to replicate in the modern era. They were able to: Offer transportation without competing with heavily subsidized autos (gas tax, free parking mandates, sprawling zoning etc.) Purchase land for redevelopment that was close enough to the CBD to ensure quick commutes that was cheap (it was farmland) Purchase / lease / be given very cheap ROW from the city So while we did have privately operated transit in the past it was enabled by a set of conditions which are very difficult to replicate today. Saying that 'private transit worked here once' is no different than saying 'banning cars in central Paris works so lets do it in Charlotte.' Having said the above I'll be a 'hipo-criticizer' and say the the privatization experience with inter-city public transportation has been problematic. It is the most expensive in Europe per mile and is facing significant public pushback due to poor service quality. There is serious talk (even among Torries) of re-nationalization since voters believe that the system is not effectively or efficiently serving the public. The political ad below points out the irony that government rail operators in Germany, France and the Netherlands are extracting profits for their citizens by operating UK trains (poorly) under the franchise contracts.
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