The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Los Angeles:
Reverse Robin Hoods raise transit fares

Jun 3, 2007

On May 24, the MTA Board of Directors voted to raise bus and train fares throughout Los Angeles County. The $3 daily pass will go up to $5 on July 1, then to $6 in two years. The $52 monthly pass will go to $62, then $75.

Needless to say, these sharp fare hikes will hit mainly the poorest residents of L.A. According to the MTA, the median household income is $12,000 for bus riders and $22,000 for passengers of the rail system.

The politicians on the MTA board didn’t deny this. In fact, they shamelessly declare themselves the defenders of the poor. The L.A. mayor and five county supervisors on the MTA board pretended to “reach a compromise” with MTA management, giving it less than it asked for.

These six politicians could easily have blocked any fare increase, which needs 9 of the 13 votes to pass. But, they say, the MTA needs more cash to cover an expected 100-million-dollar deficit next year. That deficit is less than the 360 million dollars the MTA will pay this year on its debts.

The MTA built up a huge 4.7 billion dollar debt by funneling money to contractors who grossly overcharge for construction: one mile of light rail has been costing the MTA 150 million dollars, one mile of subway 280 million! Not to mention the 26-story MTA headquarters, dubbed “Taj Mahal”, which cost 300 million dollars when it was built a decade ago!

Any humane and reasonable society would take from the profits of companies in order to subsidize services that its population needs. L.A. politicians, just like other elected officials in local, state and federal governments, do the exact opposite: they rob the poor to feed the insatiable greed of the wealthy.