Pro-Tea Party Republican’s Angry Letter to D.C. Metro: Read it in Full

Apparently
unfamiliar with the concept of irony, Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) has
drafted an angry letter to the chief of Washington D.C.’s Metro,
complaining that protesters at last weekend’s 9/12 "tea party" had
difficulty traveling by transit — the very transit system that Brady voted against aiding, and the epitome of government spending that the tea partiers claim to oppose.

PH2009041602023.jpgTea partiers protesting Big Government’s intrusion — and its failure to adequately support transit, of course. (Photo: WaPo)

Brady’s monumental audacity has awakened a welcome chorus of boos from the liberal blogosphere.

Steve Benen asked
how the Texas conservative could demand that the government provide "a
basic level of transit service" for tea partiers but not a basic level
of health insurance. Atrios observed that the episode exposes non-urbanites’ conception of cities: as "big urban theme parks."

But
the most interesting response to Brady’s hilarious lament came from
Metro itself, which took the episode with the utmost seriousness. A
spokeswoman from the transit system says the "circumstances surrounding the large crowds will be researched and a response will be sent to Brady."

Here’s a suggestion for that response: Let us spend money on operating costs, congressman!

Check out Brady’s full — and uncivil — letter to Metro chief John Catoe after the jump.

To Mr. Catoe:

I
write this letter on behalf of my constituents of the 8th Congressional
District of Texas – many of whom traveled at great expense and time to
our nation’s capital to exercise their right of free speech in the
Taxpayer March on D.C. which was held on Saturday, September 12.  These
individuals came all the way from Southeast Texas to protest the
excessive spending and growing government intrusion by the 111th
Congress and the new Obama Administration.      

Based upon
numerous eye-witness reports by participants in the march, it is clear
METRO did not adequately prepare for the influx of Americans traveling
to D.C. for this historic event.  I want an explanation why.

During
the march, I heard complaints from elderly veterans in wheel chairs who
were denied use of the subway because not enough METRO cars were
available and the METRO cars that did arrive were full to overflowing
capacity.

An 80 year old woman and her 60 year old daughter
were forced to walk – and eventually pay for a cab – due to overcrowded
conditions on the METRO.  I heard many such complaints.  These
participants, whose tax dollars were used to create and maintain this
public transit system, were frustrated and disappointed that our
nation’s capital did not make a greater effort to simply provide a
basic level of transit service for them.

METRO was certainly
aware of the march due to widespread media attention ahead of time. 
While the turnout was certainly much larger than predicted, it appears
that METRO added no additional capacity to its regular weekend schedule.

I
request that METRO promptly provide my office with a full summary of
all preparations and actions taken by the agency ahead of and during
the gathering, especially related to additional capacity, service, and
security.

Sincerely,
Kevin Brady

  • You know, I’m not sure that it’s fair to describe that letter as “uncivil.” It’s querulous, certainly, but noticeably devoid of name-calling or other pejoratives.

    But it is deliciously ironic on multiple levels.

  • “METRO was certainly aware of the march due to widespread media attention ahead of time.”

    Did the organizers of the event contact Metro to coordinate, share estimates of the turnout etc. Evidently not or the letter would have asserted same. A lot of events are held on D.C. and like any agency Metro has to be prudent in its use of public resources. Often widespread media attention is paid to events with poor or nearly no turnout (e.g. the Minutemen near the border where the reporters outnumbered the protesters). Running extra service because some folks have sent a few press releases could be a huge waste of moneyunless the agency can confirm the event is the real deal. It seems this letter is an attempt to shift blame by the folks who should have made sure Metro was in the loop.

  • walker 0

    What is the plan for LA?

    Has anyone in the ped/bike/transit orgs sat down and drawn up what transportation systems should be built? I’m not talking about concepts or principles. I’m talking about putting things down on maps, schedules, and cost estimates.

    Anyone? Please post a link.

    My fear is that we have lots of happy talk about concepts and piece meal efforts and we just assume that it will all come together once the populace is “aware” of the movement that we have started.

  • walker O, Here is the reality check: the plan for L.A. is Measure R. Some of us are very involved in oversight and trying to make sure the process of implementation proceeds somewhat smoothly.

  • walker 0

    Dana thanks for responding and I’m sure you genuinely think that R is going to do it.

    We need a more comprehensive plan. Measure R alone totally built out ain’t going to bring us to the promised land of no cars and wide open streets where the kids can play street hockey (that still happens in the suburbs and rural areas) and people rarely get in their cars. We shouldn’t kid ourselves.

    By the way, why did we allow this to be a general sales tax and not a gas tax? If you want less of something, tax that. Given that the cost of living is so high already why put a greater burden on our low income population?

  • Wad

    Walker O wrote:

    Measure R alone totally built out ain’t going to bring us to the promised land of no cars and wide open streets where the kids can play street hockey (that still happens in the suburbs and rural areas) and people rarely get in their cars. We shouldn’t kid ourselves.

    First off, the car as a machine will never go away. Even the cities with the world’s most comprehensive transit systems also have to plan for cars.

    Second, there won’t be enough money to build everything we will ever want. Sniping about how our currency is disproportionately tilted towards the prerogatives of the ruling class doesn’t go anywhere beyond navel-gazing on this board. Getting the money itself is another matter.

    By the way, why did we allow this to be a general sales tax and not a gas tax? If you want less of something, tax that. Given that the cost of living is so high already why put a greater burden on our low income population?

    Low-income populations are screwed under any tax regime. Even under no or very low taxes, low-income people will still deal with high costs of living and dim or no economic prospects.

    The unique problem with a gas tax is revenues will go down as gas prices go up. A gas tax is perfect if you don’t ever expect anyone to switch from a car and ride transit. But if you have a condition like last year where gas was headed to $5 a gallon, more people are going to seek out public transit yet revenues will fall off to keep the services running. This is exactly when you don’t want revenues to fall.

  • Gas taxes are very hard to raise. The Bay Area under legislation could impose a regional tax for transportation. The option has existed for nearly a decade. They never tried to put it on the ballot.

    And personally I work in a real world context. I have never seen master plans worth pursuing given limitations of time, energy, etc. Some of us are not chasing some utopian vision.

    Frankly implementing R and advocating for the federal matching funds for the big projects will be enough to keep advicates busy for years. It isn’t a blueprint for perfection but far better than zero.

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