PBS Exposes the Joy of Transit

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NOW host David Brancaccio does an interview on the LA Metro. Click through for the full video.

The latest episode of NOW
is surely the most effective takedown of car-dependent planning ever
broadcast in news magazine format. Adhering to the familiar contours of
pocketbook journalism, "Driven to Despair" starts with a sympathetic
portrayal of the Schleighs, a family who moved to a southern California
exurb seven years ago. With their adjustable rate mortgage about to
reset and gas prices already busting the family budget, they need a way
out.

What follows can be fairly described as a 25-minute ode to the time- and money-saving benefits of transit, complete with a brief history of the Los Angeles streetcar system and a rueful suggestion that the Presidential candidates should address transportation more forcefully.

Watching
the Schleighs and their neighbors react to the idea of riding a train
to work — sneering, in one case — it’s all too apparent why someone
running for national office would skirt the issue. But you also realize
that if a national pol were to finally go out on that limb, he or she
may find voters more receptive to the idea of better trains and buses
than feared.

"Driven to Despair" will be re-broadcast on
PBS all this week. It’s the first part in a
NOW series on infrastructure called "Blueprint America."

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Insert new question here. We’ve noted throughout this election season that transportation policy is something of a third rail in presidential politics. Gas prices and auto industry jobs are irresistible fodder for campaign promises, but even the candidate who has decent ideas about rail travel and bike infrastructure doesn’t mention transit on the stump. (The […]