Plumb Lines

September 21, 2009

Libertarians and Transit

Filed under: Uncategorized — Matthew Schmitz @ 4:47 pm

rotooleSpeaking of falsely libertarian views on transit, Cato Fellow Randal O’Toole has just put out a report recycling some of his familiar attacks on transit. In July, Ryan Avent offered an assessment of O’Toole’s efforts:

O’Toole was without friends in a room of leaders that finally seemed to grasp how planning had gone wrong in the last half century. At this moment — with vehicle miles traveled falling, with central city population growth rates increasing as suburban growth rates fall, and with central city housing prices showing resilience as exurban neighborhoods continue to experience rapid decline — Cato’s myth of sprawl as the American dream seems more hollow than ever.

As Avent goes on to point out, libertarians should oppose regulations that, in much of the country, have made building walkable, mixed-use settlements illegal.

-Matthew Schmitz



  1. When Kunstler is faced with the libertarian argument, he responds that everything – from overall grids down to the last street lamp lightbulb – in American sprawl is regulated; it’s just regulated in favor of cars, not people.

    Comment by millinerd — September 21, 2009 @ 6:50 pm

  2. The current VMT data and trends related to growth rates and home prices have been directly affected by a recent acute spike in oil prices and a prolonged deep recession/near depression which have broken many planning theories/models.

    I agree that long term planning may have failed us to some degree, but using certain growth and traffic data over the past 3 years to show how long term planning has failed is just as erred as using it to show how planning may have been successful regarding decreasing congestion, etc.

    Also, response to congestion and urban sprawl over the past 10 years has caused metro planning organizations to change what projects can qualify for regional spending including brownstone-like development and development in urban areas.

    Nonetheless I enjoyed the critical and educated discourse in this and the linked post.

    Comment by tk — September 22, 2009 @ 5:25 pm

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