Want Faster Stimulus?

By Brian Beutler

How about tossing money at problems like the one Michael Cooper describes:

ST. LOUIS — Buses will no longer stop at some 2,300 stops in and around this city at the end of next month because, despite rising ridership, the struggling transit system plans to balance its books with layoffs and drastic service cuts….The Washington Metro set a record on Inauguration Day last month when people made 1.5 million trips on it to see the swearing-in of President Obama, but its $176 million budget gap means that it is planning to cut service and eliminate 900 jobs. Chicago had its biggest gain in riders in three decades last year, but was forced to raise fares. Charlotte, N.C., whose new light-rail system is the envy of transit planners around the country, and which is enjoying its biggest ridership levels since “the days of streetcars,” according to Keith Parker, the transit system’s chief executive, will be running its new trains less frequently, raising fares and cutting back on bus service.

Fill those gaps, save those jobs, maintain service, reduce fairs, even, and it’s instant and awesome stimulus. Nobody wants to answer why the proposals largely lack this kind of spending. If filling potholes is a no-brainer, why not this?