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Framing the Debate American Dream Coalition September 24, 2010 Orlando, Florida Christopher W. Walker Dulles Corridor Users Group Washington, DC.

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Presentation on theme: "Framing the Debate American Dream Coalition September 24, 2010 Orlando, Florida Christopher W. Walker Dulles Corridor Users Group Washington, DC."— Presentation transcript:

1 Framing the Debate American Dream Coalition September 24, 2010 Orlando, Florida Christopher W. Walker Dulles Corridor Users Group Washington, DC

2 How to Sell Mobility Angel Dust 1. Do the analysis. Use proper metrics. 2. Make sure all the alternatives are considered. Include no build, distributed network car sharing, offline BRT. 3. Rank order the alternatives. Make sure: --projects exceed cost of capital --scoresheet– which alternative wins? 4. Now forget about the numbers.

3 The Missing Analytical Variable Time—our most valuable resource Personalized transportation twice as time efficient as collective transportation -Walking up to ¼ mile -Bicycles up to 2 miles -Cars up to 250 miles Seminal question: why would anyone go to the expense of owning and paying for private transportation when public transportation is available and subsidized? Answer:

4 Advocacy for Land Use Freedom and Mobility 1. Politics= who gets what, when, where 2. By definition, politics is apart from the market economy. Default process is corrupt. 3. When you realize logic plays no part, it all makes perfect sense. 4. Cost is the benefit. Cost the enemy in the private sector, the benefit in the public sector. 5. Rail is much more expensive, and % skimmed by political class is much higher than for road projects. Often limited open bidding, free from public procurement laws.

5 The Cost is the Benefit Example: Dulles Toll Road, cost all-in in 1984 for 40 lane miles was $53 million. Speed: 60 mph Dulles Silver Line, 2010, $7.8 billion for 44 track miles. Speed: 25 mph Question: How much went for fees (legal, architectual, engineering, underwriting) for Dulles Silver Line project? Homework: the Power Broker, biography of Robert Moses written by Robert Caro. Make sure annual deficits and interest costs are added into the total cost.

6 Opposition 1. Traditionally much less than for rail than for highways. We can help change this. 2. History of legal challenges to highway megaprojects, starting with Overton Park case in 1971. 3. Ability to pass on high costs to future generations: --bonding thru Economic Development Authorities --revenue bonds with zero coupon/capital apprecation features --ribbon cut today, pay tomorrow.

7 Dealing with Preconceptions-I 1. In public meetings, the decisionmakers have --already made up their minds. Has the local transportation dept. done an analysis? 2. Typically deal with lawyer or liberal arts types— --assume innumeracy --remember how local politics is funded. --Document inaccuracies of opponents “System X will reduce congestion.” Capture this assertion on tape and put it up on YouTube. Carry a camcorder to public meetings.

8 Dealing with Preconceptions- II 3. Write out your presention in jounalistic style and make sure local press gets copies. Daily press has fired its local reporters and fact checkers. Make sure your online presence is up to date and reachable via the search engines. 4. Sloganize your campaign– “Fairfax’ Big Dig”. --Local press says, “numbers not as bad as Big Dig, but… 5. Beware of “transit increases land values.” Attack this statement, not true. Typical assertion of benefited landowners, rest of us pay.

9 Tea Party Organizational Advice Pain of losing next election only motivator. Zoning decisions (land use, density) is mostly arbitrary. Planning use of private land makes no sense since public can’t even properly plan public space. Lots of skeletons to exhume if our legislator doesn’t go our way. Don’t threaten, execute. “Tax and spend.” Big Dig aftermath: Every silly or untrue statement made by a public official will survive to haunt forevermore. Is it laziness, stupidity, or corruption?

10 Legal Tracking Public Interest litigation much less expensive than it used to be. Electronic filing… PACER SYSTEM. Cut and paste. Open Source litigation. Just need one lawyer licensed in a particular court. Collaborative software– google docs etc. Rail projects just as vulnerable to environmental Impact challenges than road projects– a section 6 economics study is required. If we can’t defeat, at least we can delay.

11 The Facts Facts are facts, but perception is reality. All the facts we need are available from the promoters, generated at public expense. Should understand Freedom of Information Act. Federal and local. Who is getting the money? This type of data is closely guarded. Who’s NOT on the payroll? Limits of comprehension– pick out 3 key points.

12 How to deal with Lies “Higher property values, obesity, pollution, jobs, sustainability, useful alternatives to roads, capacity equal to x highway lanes, etc.” Bent Flyvjberg, Megaprojects and Risk: urban rail projects only off the ground by lying. Ask for source of misstatements. Opponents don’t have any valid ones! Our side provides references. Geo Washington legacy. Who is the patsy?

13 Limits of Embarrassment? Suburban BRT, Suburban Rail, Urban Rail A. Southern DC commuter shed, $51 million upfront for 35,000 boardings via distributed BRT. Small annual deficits. B. Dulles Rail, $7.8 billion for 43,000 new system riders in 2030. Fixed guideway, mostly above grade. $120 million annual operating deficit. C. Second Avenue subway, NYC. $1 billion per new station (4), phase one only, tunnel. Ratio of 1:100:300. Which areas are growing?

14 Are we winning or losing? Right now the scoreboard shows us behind. But: we have momentum. We will always be outspent. In US, by design, regular revolutions– only we call them elections. Determined minorities can get their way-- counterProgressivism Mad as hell and won’t take it any more. A new era of fiscal responsibility is dawning. It’s not over till the fat lady sings– cf Big Dig

15 Let’s work together If you want to promote open source citizen transportation legal advocacy for your issue, contact me. My legal efforts to date are available from any browser if you open up a PACER account (8 cents per page). Chris Walker, JD, MBA

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