08.13.2018 0

Why are D.C. and New York officials afraid of competition to public transit?

By Printus LeBlanc

If there is one thing big government progressives hate it is competition, and recent actions by officials in New York and Washington, D.C. prove it.

New York Mayor Bill De Blasio proved what a big government corporatist he truly is this past week. The city of New York is famous for its dirty, rude, and racist taxis, and apparently, De Blasio wants to ensure it stays that way.

Last week, the communist leaning mayor, limited the number of Uber and Lyft drivers in the city. For some reason, the mayor believes this is going to help the “working poor,” in the city. How limiting the ways in which a person can make a living is supposed to help them has yet to be explained.

The move does do one thing; it restores the value of the government-controlled taxi medallions. When the ride-sharing services burst onto the scene, the government lost the monopoly it bestowed upon a select few, and the medallions plummeted in value.

What makes even less sense is the timing of the move by De Blasio. The L train, serving parts of Brooklyn and lower Manhattan, is expected to be shut down early in 2019, for more than a year for repairs. The shutdown is expected impact over 400,000 commuters daily. This would be an excellent time for ride-sharing services to help relieve the extra traffic stress that is going to be caused by the halt in service.

Mayor De Blasio’s reasoning for backing the extra regulations on ride-sharing services is asinine at best. He stated, “our city is directly confronting a crisis that is driving working New Yorkers into poverty and our streets into gridlock.” De Blasio continued, “the unchecked growth of app-based for-hire vehicle companies has demanded action – and now we have it.” The high taxes and endless regulations are what is driving people into poverty in New York. Adding more competition to the government created taxi and metro monopolies gives the people of the Big Apple choices.

What is wrong with choices? According to De Blasio choices are okay, as long as he selects the choices.

Washington, D.C.’s Metro system and the politicians responsible for it are not much better. The D.C. system is notoriously poor performing. There is an actual website to keep track of which line is on fire. The site is called ismetroonfire.com. It may seem like a joke, but according to WTOP, the Metro had almost two fires per week within the system. When the Metro is not on fire, its ridership has slipped significantly, causing a funding problem. Fewer people on the Metro means less revenue.

But fear not D.C. residents, D.C. City Council and Mayor have a plan to fix the failing metro system. They are going to tax the people not using the D.C. Metro system. That’s right, Washington, D.C. is establishing a tax on people that use ride-sharing services.

The plan isn’t to make the metro safer. The plan isn’t to make the metro run on time. The plan is to tax the people not using a service. Once again, someone chooses an option the government doesn’t like, and the government lashes out.

New York and D.C. are perfect examples of the government issuing monopolies, and then using the power of taxation and regulation to guard the monopolies. Competition is a good thing. Look at televisions, computers, phones, and cars. The more competition, the better the product. However, when the government takes a side as it does in healthcare and education, the product is inferior. It is time for the local governments of D.C. and New York to allow competition in its cities.

Printus LeBlanc is the Legislative Director for Americans for Limited Government.

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