Not who pays but what we pay for

Jim Hopkins is on the right track:

And we all missed the point. What matters is not who pays for stuff but the stuff we’re paying for.

Like trains, for crying out loud. Apparently, much of this new post-regional, national fuel tax will fund the electrification of Auckland’s railways.

Well, electrify them, by all means – assuming we can persuade ourselves to build another dam (or let the Russians sell us a surplus nuclear sub we can moor off Waiheke) but don’t pretend trains are the answer.

If they are, you’re asking the wrong question.

Expecting trains to solve Auckland’s transport woes makes as much sense as lassoing rogue elephants with spaghetti or telling Phil Goff he can win our hearts and minds by being himself.

Cities are created by the best available means we have to get around them. When that was feet, cities were small and compact. When it was trams and trains, they got bigger. Now it’s cars they sprawl, like concrete amoebas, all over the place.

And people move randomly about them – from Howick to Devonport to Sylvia Park, something trains can’t easily handle.

That’s just how it is. Some cities were created BA (Before Automobiles) and trains make sense.

Others grew AA (After Automobiles) and they don’t.

Build a motorway and get over it.

Being relegated to fortnightly offerings hasn’t dimmed his wit.

One Response to Not who pays but what we pay for

  1. Paul Walker says:

    “And we all missed the point. What matters is not who pays for stuff but the stuff we’re paying for.”

    He wrong in that both matter. Even if the stuff we are paying for is good stuff, to get the incentives right we still have to worry about who pays.

    Like

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