Monday, November 16, 2020

NOT GOOD: Biden Appoints Traffic Congestion Supporters to Transition Team

By Randall O'Toole

Phillip Washington, the transit executive who thinks Los Angeles isn’t congested enough, has been named the leader of Biden’s transition team in charge of the Department of Transportation and Amtrak. Washington is the CEO of Los Angeles Metro, the main transit agency in Los Angeles County.

A year ago, as Los Angeles bus ridership was collapsing due to LA Metro’s insistence on building costly light rail, Washington blamed the loss of bus riders instead on Los Angeles’ famously uncongested freeways. “It’s too easy to drive in this city,” he told the Wall Street Journal. To restore bus ridership, the city has to “make driving harder.”

“Sometimes you have to tell people what’s good for them,” Washington also told the Journal. He will clearly fit right in to Biden’s top‐​down view of how the world should work. Washington’s support for obsolete light‐​rail transit will go hand‐​in‐​hand with Biden’s support for obsolete intercity passenger trains.

In The Best‐​Laid Plans, I showed that American cities are increasingly run by a Congestion Coalition, a collection of special interest groups that benefit from increased traffic congestion. The coalition includes urban planners, transit agencies, environmentalists, builders of high‐​density housing projects, transportation contractors (especially those who build urban monuments that don’t really relieve congestion), and downtown property owners.

Few have been as explicit in stating their goals as Washington, but Biden’s transportation transition team includes several other members of the coalition. Among them are:

The above originally appeared at


  1. “Sometimes you have to tell people what’s good for them,”

    In a nutshell, from the Superior Man with an executive plan, a dedicated member of the TopDownCommand.

  2. Typical new urbanism transit advocacy. Making driving worse so people will take transit.

    What they don't want to ever do is build transit that goes where people want when they want to go there.

    They want to use transit to dictate how people should live, where they should live, where they should work, where they should shop, etc. They want it to engineer society, not serve society.

    Transit fails because it's trying to engineer society rather than serve it, which is why their solution is always to destroy the options people use to go where they want when they want.