17 Responses to Into the Dark Tower: Oct 2 at the Cato Institute

  1. Ben G September 9, 2018 at 7:53 pm #

    Is he against public transit everywhere? Or just American public transit, which is often done terribly?

    And/or is he against mass transit? Or just publicly funded mass transit? (and if the latter, is he also against publicly funded highways and streets dedicated to cars?)

    Care to summarize what you’ll be up against?

    • Peter L September 10, 2018 at 4:11 pm #

      It’s Randy The Tool. He’s against all transit anywhere run for any reason by any organization. He’s the original “it’d be cheaper to buy them all BMWs” guy.

    • Mike September 12, 2018 at 10:59 am #

      The Cato institute is libertarian so it prefers to privatize everything. If Google were to start a privately-funded mass transit network, they probably wouldn’t object, City planning is another way of saying you’re limiting what landowners can do with their property, and wasting money pretending to know what “the people” want, as if people have rights to land they don’t own.

  2. Shane M September 10, 2018 at 12:12 pm #

    Talking about how this imbalance in transportation mode uses would change if we incentivized transit with it’s travel time (BRT, own lane, prepaid boarding, all door boarding, and signal priority) and cost (congestion pricing for vehicles, raising the gas tax and implementing a vehicle miles traveled tax) over personal use vehicles. These added costs for personal use vehicles can be then directed to additional public transit funding.

  3. Laurence Aurbach September 10, 2018 at 2:44 pm #

    Chuck Marohn of Strong Towns debated O’Toole a few years ago. Marohn wrote up his impressions of the debate afterward:


    There was also an amusing exchange between Donald Shoup (the parking guru) and O’Toole, with Shoup arguing for the free market solution to parking and O’Toole saying government mandates were no big deal:


  4. Adam September 11, 2018 at 10:51 am #

    I’m going to miss it! Will the discussion be recorded and available online for later viewing? Or will it only be live?

  5. Kyle September 15, 2018 at 4:02 am #

    Why would you voluntarily go into the bear den? I doubt a CATO audience is going to be very receptive of your arguments, you’d only be there to be proof of “liberal faulty thinking”.

    • Mike September 15, 2018 at 10:30 am #

      It may affect some people at the margins. And if they’re going to be anti-transit, they should at least know what that really means. Jarrett can show that a transit line is not like a freeway or a river, and that increasing frequency is not the same as adding a car lane on a highway. And perhaps the most important, that it’s not good enough to have just high-capacity transit on highways because pedestrians can’t get from activity centers to highway entrances. Having lines go to neighborhood centers increases ridership and cost-effectiveness. Some libertarians recognize that their minarchist ideal is not going to happen in the near future or maybe ever, not as long as they’re a minority in a democracy, and currently they’re losing people, so therefore there will be at last some kind of social safety net for the time being, so they might as well make it more effective for the money we’re spending on it. Also, while people may want to drown national government, they may not feel the same about local government, so they may support some local transit projects if they see them as compatible with libertarian goals. And one of Jarrett’s messages is that transit increases the freedom to access places. Transportation is inherently social because it traverses multiple people’s properties, so it inevitably needs a collective solution of some sort, and subsidizing SOV drivers may not always be the best choice.

      • Scott Albrecht September 15, 2018 at 7:14 pm #

        O’Toole talks about pricing roads to relieve congestion, something Jarrett has also supported, so there is a point of common ground. Also, Jarrett’s way of explaining the necessity of big-vehicle, multi-passenger transit as a geometric fact (and the freedom of movement it enables, as noted above) could possibly resonate with thoughtful libertarians.

      • Uncle Albert's Nephew September 16, 2018 at 7:02 pm #

        Some liberals may see the debate online since the Republicans are in power now and are looking at libertarian websites again. There’s a bit of common ground there on issues like eminent domain (in the case of minority liberals) and criminal justice. I disagree that libertarians want to see government do anything well. They love images of the NYC subway covered in graffiti so much that they ignore the fact that David Gunn cleaned up most of that in the ’80s.

    • Vramin September 27, 2018 at 11:22 am #

      I doubt a CATO audience is going to be very receptive of your arguments, you’d only be there to be proof of “liberal faulty thinking”.

      Don’t lump libertarians in with the rest of the right wing. Cato actually has intellectual credibility, which is not something I would say for run-of-the mill conservative PR operations like Heritage. They might not be convinced by Jarrett, but they’re not going to chant “War On Cars!”

  6. Jonathan Hallam September 16, 2018 at 3:13 am #

    Good luck!

  7. Albaby September 17, 2018 at 3:37 pm #

    I don’t think O’Toole would disagree that where transit is required by geometric fact, transit is appropriate. He usually notes that the NYC metro requires transit. Where Walker and O’Toole will certainly disagree is over how prevalent that geometric fact is. I doubt O’Toole thinks that more than a half dozen U.S. cities require transit to function (if that many).

    O’Toole’s thesis is generally that we don’t build cities the way we used to before cars existed, the way we build cities now doesn’t work for transit, and we’re never going to build cities the “old way” again because cars are just too darn useful. So transit only works for the bare handful of cities (like NYC) that have development patterns with sufficient residential and jobs density to support those systems – everywhere else is a phenomenal waste of public resources.

    At heart, it’s an empiric disagreement. I don’t think Walker would disagree that if you build a city like Oklahoma City, transit won’t work there; O’Toole wouldn’t disagree that if you build a city like Manhattan, you *need* transit. The question for the future of transit is whether U.S. cities are – and will be going forward – more like the former than the latter.

  8. mikeatsmileend September 18, 2018 at 11:19 am #

    All the best Jarrett. I’ll try and catch it. I don’t like debating the right. They are not nuanced and speak in sound bites – user pays, war on cars, hard working families trying to get to their jobs, no new taxes – and on and on and on….. And like many people this guy will know absolutely nothing about public transport having never used it in his life – whereas myself and I guess you Jarrett have had to use cars on occasion.

  9. Robert Wightman September 19, 2018 at 4:54 pm #

    @ Scott;

    “…(and the freedom of movement it enables, as noted above) could possibly resonate with thoughtful libertarians.” Isn’t this the definition of oxymoron?

  10. Suzanne September 27, 2018 at 11:39 am #

    @Jarrett, are you also doing a separate debate with O’Toole at 9am on Monday the first Oct? About federal funding? Thanks

  11. AAI October 3, 2018 at 5:41 am #

    Will this debate be made available after the live airing?

Leave a Reply