Guess What Useful Thing the Koch Brothers Are Destroying Now

The Koch Brothers have used their money to try to ruin many a good thing: unions, public education, the environment and the White House to name a few. Now the famously rich and diabolical family has its sights set on a new target: public transportation.

Per an in-depth New York Times piece, Charles and David Koch have been giving millions to thwart dozens of mass transit projects proposed around the country—and usually their efforts have been successful. That’s terrible news for people who want to protect the planet from excessive carbon emissions—and for people who just want an easier way to get from point A to point B.

WHY DON’T THE KOCH BROTHERS LIKE TRANSIT?

Although they’re known as conservatives, a lot of their perspectives are better described as libertarian. They believe that the free market rather than the government should answer our transportation needs.

OKAY, BUT REALLY, WHY DON’T THE KOCH BROTHERS LIKE TRANSIT?

Well, what usually motivates them? Money, obviously! They’re spending a lot of money because they stand to make even more money if people continue to drive rather than take trains. Did you know that Koch corporations either invest in or manufacture gas, asphalt, tires, seatbelts and other car parts? They don’t want to lose that revenue just so would-be consumers can have an affordable way to avoid traffic.

HOW ARE THEY STOPPING TRANSPORTATION PROPOSALS?

The Bros do it by quietly bankrolling groups like “Americans for Prosperity” that present voters with misleading information. They make calls and go door-to-door with the appearance of a grassroots organization and worry constituents about higher taxes and the supposed ineffectiveness of mass transit.

As an example, the NYT walks through what happened in Nashville where voters were pretty enthusiastic about having new train lines, especially since the population there is expected to increase by 50 percent (1 million more people) in the upcoming two decades and the only way to accommodate that is to provide transportation.

Once Koch-funded campaign took hold, the vote actually flipped, with voters convinced transit would be too expensive and not help them personally.

HOW ARE THEY SELLING THIS TO PEOPLE?

One of the main talking points the Koch family pushes is a future with driverless cars that would render public transit useless. Here’s the thing—so far those magical vehicles have proven dangerous and don’t look to be anywhere close to ready for implementation. What’s more, the idea that such a luxury would be affordable to the masses is farfetched.

Alas, when people hear stories of this utopian future, they picture themselves being chauffeured around and buy into the idea that it’s superior to a functioning light-rail and bus system that would help keep the roads less congested in the first place.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR THE COUNTRY ON THE WHOLE?

If the Koch family continues to use its influence to stop efforts to build new transportation, America’s unhealthy reliance on cars will continue. That’s not good for the environment, and it’s not good for the American population that is flocking to live in already overcrowded cities.

We’ve seen how money can tip the scale in prominent elections, but not everyone realizes how money can even control efforts to construct even non-controversial things like public transportation. We need both expanded transportation options and new campaign finance laws.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

73 comments

Marie W
Marie W3 months ago

TYFS

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Jeanne R
Jeanne Rogers8 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jeanne R
Jeanne Rogers8 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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John W
John W9 months ago

Thanks.

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Pam Bruce
Pam Bruce9 months ago

Good thing these brothers are old. We might not have to put up with their crazy ideas and their money for many more years. They should be using their money towards good causes before they forget what life is supposed to be like. They should be protecting our environment.

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Shirley S
Shirley S9 months ago

noted

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Solomon O'donnell
Solomon O'donnell9 months ago

kicking our drug habit of gasoline is needed to reduce the global temperature, or MASS EXTINCTION will bite Mankind in the arse from the sins of the rich. this can prevent traffic congestion. commuting also teaches people to be concerned about protecting the environment, reducing CO2 emissions

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Chad A
Chad Anderson9 months ago

Thank you.

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Adele E Zimmermann
Adele E Zimmermann9 months ago

Rail travel is the most fuel-efficient way to move people and goods. But, while the rest of the world is building bullet trains to ease highway congestion and fight climate change, our oil-soaked government is doing its best to sabotage our existing rail system and scuttle innovation. This crippling of our vital transportation system is subversion bordering on treason.

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Leo Custer
Leo Custer9 months ago

Thank you for sharing!

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