Don’t believe rail supporters’ propaganda

The Libertarian candidate for NC Senate District 16 warned that people shouldn’t believe the propaganda of high speed and light rail supporters because it is not based on facts.

“North Carolina’s rail supporters, for both high-speed and light rail, want you to believe that rail is going to solve a lot of problems and that it’s long overdue,” said Stephanie Watson in her blog “The fact is that rail is expensive, unmovable, and discriminatory against those who pay taxes to subsidize it but don’t live near it.”

Stephanie Watson

Despite overwhelming evidence that people come to North Carolina to escape high-density growth, Watson said politicians and government planners use social engineering to create such undesirable living areas.

“Instead of looking for ways to improve transportation based on the natural growth patterns of a city, our cities are looking at ways of socially engineering future growth to be compressed in high-density areas along certain corridors,” she said. “City planners are so focused on the shiny new structures they want to build that they’re spending all their efforts trying to justify and fund those instead of supporting their existing citizens and natural city growth,” Watson said.

Watson cited a spotlight report by the John Locke Foundation which found that driving is more energy efficient and produces less carbon emissions than almost any transit system in North Carolina. The report also noted that while driving in the state costs no more than 22 cents per passenger mile, public transit cost on average $1.15 per passenger mile, with nearly $1 of that subsidized by non-transit users.

The report makes five recommendations on how to improve public transportation systems include the use of smaller vehicles, contracting out or privatizing services, jitneys, privately owned vehicles operating on fixed or semi-fixed routes similar to airport shuttles, and vouchers for those who cannot afford cars.

Read the full report here.

Watson linked the push for high-speed rail corridors to forced annexation. As the federal government increases its push for high-speed rail corridors through the state, she warned this could encourage more municipalities to use forced annexation.

“The supporting infrastructure is likely to result in state and municipal annexation as new rail lines are needed or for larger buffer zones along existing rail lines,” she said. “As the only candidate who has taken up the fight for meaningful annexation reform, I want to make sure the cities don’t violate the rights of those being annexed during this construction.”