The Secret Worldwide Transit Cabal

Informed but opinionated commentary and analysis on urban transportation topics from the Secret Worldwide Transit Cabal. Names have been omitted to protect the guilty.

Our Mission: Monkeywrench the Anti-Transit Forces

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Monday, September 09, 2002

Dr. Peter Gordon, Notorious Anti-Rail Academic, Gets Black Eye from USC Administration

From the Cabalmaster:

Dr. Peter Gordon, PhD, a Professor of Economics at the University of Southern California, is apparently ignored by his own university administration. This is interesting because Dr. Gordon, the first recipient of the Secret Worldwide Transit Cabal's "SAEP" ("sap") award, is one of the few anti-rail troubadours who actually has ever published in peer-reviewed publications, and is one of the biggest anti-rail hotheads as well.

Published Monday, September 9, 2002, in the Los Angeles Times.

Clearing the Road for Pet Projects

* Politics: Ballot initiative would divert 30% of auto sales taxes to causes that include a golf cart path.

By Jon Ortiz

SACRAMENTO -- Casino operators, land developers, museum boosters and a major private university, among others, have poured millions into a November ballot initiative that would funnel tax dollars into their favorite projects in the name of easing freeway congestion.

Proposition 51 would take car sales taxes that normally help pay for prisons, parks, health care and other government services and use them to finance dozens of projects, including a rail line with stops at an Indian casino, golf cart paths for a gated retirement community, fuel-efficient boats for Lake Tahoe and a railroad museum addition.

The proposition, titled the Traffic Congestion Relief and Safe School Buses Act, guarantees 30% of state motor vehicle sales taxes would be set aside for road and transit projects and a smattering of land conservation grants....

Projects that found their way into the initiative include:

several listing deleted...

* A $75-million project to provide rail service to USC. The university's $300,000 is the largest single contribution to date. USC President Steven B. Sample decided to donate the money after the Planning and Conservation League amended the proposition to guarantee that the transit line would go underground as it entered Exposition Park, a university spokeswoman said.

For the rest of article, see

This light rail route, the "Exposition Line" if built, would be an extension of the LRT route that Dr. Gordon loves to hate, the downtown Los Angeles-Long Beach "Blue Line."

Now, we in the Secret Worldwide Transit Cabal question the way the PCL initiative was put together; that is, basically as a political pork barrel where political contributions determine what projects get funded, regardless of actual transportation merit. On the other hand, that doesn't mean that some of the projects, such as the proposed Exposition LRT line, aren't justified. Even Gordon would have to admit that this Blue Line extension has better traffic potential than most new LRT proposals around the country, given the large population it would serve plus the very high population density in the downtown LA-USC-Culver City corridor (often higher than the "Wilshire Corridor.")

We just have to laugh and snicker out loud, and all through the day, when we contemplate that apparently Dr. Gordon was ignored almost completely by his own university administration.

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