Post-Gazette defends mass transit monopolies

SEPTEMBER 23, 2008 | by NATHAN BENEFIELD

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has a nonsensical editorial opposing Mike Turzai and Mike Mustio's legislation which would allow competition in mass transit in Pittsburgh. Currently the Port Authority of Allegheny County has not only a de facto monopoly, but a legal one - it is against the law for anyone to offer competing services.

Their opposition to competition on the grounds that "deregulation and the free market bring the U.S. economy to the brink of ruin" is false on more than one count. First, the US economy is not on "the brink of ruin". Second, the failure is not one of the free market in housing - which we have not had - but a failure of government. (Read more on the failure of government regulators, how government mandates and regulations led to the "housing bubble," and how Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac failed because they are government-sponsored entities and face no competition).

They further claim that private firms could not survive in a competitive environment and wouldn't want to compete - which cannot possibly be a legitimate reason to oppose the Turzai/Mustio reform. If no firms compete because it isn't financially viable or they fail, eliminating the legal monopoly would have no effect on PAT or riders.

The Post-Gazette conveniently ignores competition of mass transit in San Diego, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, Indianapolis, and a full 10% of transit services in the US and far more across the world. Read our Policy Brief on Mass Transit reform for more.



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