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CARTA - Fueled by Printer's Ink!
Lee Walton

Mercy! If CARTA could run on printer's ink and editorial platitudes from the Palter & Chatter, it wouldn't need any of the Half Cent Sales Tax revenue to operate. Talk about those who "… just don't get it"! These self- righteous hypocrites and would be "transit experts" want their readers to believe that the only solution to CARTA's chronic operational and management problems is to continue blindly throwing more and more tax money into the hands of its incompetent management. How can they continue to turn blind eyes and deaf ears to the mounting waste and incompetence that most now see as a bottomless pit for hard-earned taxes? Instead, the Palter & Chatter's March 29th Editorial chooses to ridicule and chide well founded public skepticism and "… attitude problems by some in the community who simply fail to see the personal benefits of a public transit system."

What the Palter & Chatter, J. "Pericles" Riley and all the other highly visible pro-CARTA demagogues would have us believe is that CARTA is the only, ultimate answer to Charleston's traffic congestion and economic viability. Remember, this comes from the same group of "experts" who didn't have a "Plan - B". They don't want us to know that CARTA, like other public transit systems in low-density, predominately suburban regions like Greater Charleston, will never capture the annual transit rider-ship growth that equals the annual growth in commuter traffic; many recent national studies have demonstrated this particular failing of public transit. Why? Because demographics, suburban growth patterns, culture, personal preferences and economic competitiveness combine to work against public transit as a viable alternative to the private automobile. The rapid suburban and rural growth in our region is not being fueled by low to moderate-income transplants from large transit-dependant cities. Instead, our region's phenomenal growth is being fueled by the same independent, upwardly mobile spirit of adventure and wanderlust exhibited by the early pioneers who have now traded their "Calistoga Wagons" for SUV's and Mini-Vans as they head down today's "Oregon Trail" we call I-26.

There will always be a small segment of Charleston's population that depends on public transportation, which must be provided. These riders, either by personal preference or circumstance, find public transit as their best choice or only alternative. Nonetheless, demographics, time constraints, and the pressures of practical, competitive choices facing Charleston's work force will continue to relegate public transit to a minor, specialized roll.

No amount of ink, false claims, platitudes or mis-representations can cover-up CARTA's blatantly obvious waste and incompetence. Regardless of how influential the Palter & Chatter thinks it might be, it still hasn't found a way to force the CARTA "Camel" through the eye of the public opinion "Needle". If the Palter & Chatter were more independent and less controlled by "Pericles", it would listen to the community with the so-called "attitude problem" and those who "…just don't get it". Their ink would be better used to support major top-down restructuring of CARTA's management through a national search for the level of experienced leadership and specialized knowledge needed to operate an efficient transit system.

Name-calling and ridiculing those who "see the forest" through all the ink, smoke and mirrors will not win over support for an organization that clearly lacks the prerequisite talent and leadership skills. Facing the facts of CARTA's obvious shortcomings and being a proponent for meaningful change will increase much needed public confidence in CARTA.

Regrettably, the Palter & Chatter has chosen to hitch its credibility to an empty CARTA Bus wandering aimlessly throughout Charleston. Time will tell if they both end up in the same ditch.

Your Comments:

I've read most of your enigmatic posts, so let's get this straight (in plain English). You're for no change in the historic district, no mass transit, and pretty much couldn't give a toss what happens in the suburbs. It seems a pretty close-minded, peninsular viewpoint to me. Some of us care not only about preserving the livability of the peninsula, but of the greater Lowcountry as well. Yeh, most people prefer cars to mass transit, but giving them no alternative more or less dooms our area to sprawl. That might not matter in the high-rent neighborhoods, but for some of us, preserving the livability of Charleston doesn't stop once you go to the north side of Calhoun Street.

Posted by: Lee from Wagener Terrace at April 3, 2006 10:39 PM

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