There has much debate recently in my local paper concerning the infamous Purple Line Metro, a proposed 16-mile stretch of railway cutting through suburban Maryland. Last Sunday there was a front-page story about a number of Marylanders who stand to lose their businesses and livelihoods as the developers (that’s you and me, taxpayer!) take parcels of land through eminent domain. Previous articles have discussed the disruption to the natural environment as well. (You know what they say about politics and bedfellows.) On the other side, yesterday there was an opinion piece defending the line (sort of), and promoting public-private partnerships in general. (When I hear the phrase “public-private partnership” I reach for my wallet.) Guess what? The author was one of the partners.
This is one of those cases in which people who have some stake in a project (i.e. they stand to benefit personally or lose personally) are the ones who happen to be for or against said project. These should not be the areas in which collective action takes place. Too many winners and losers for the government to be taking sides. This is like Poly Sci 101, but I suppose every once in a while we could use a refresher.
And for a fuller version of how I feel about the Purple Line, head here: http://littlesongs.net/