Ed Martin is positioning himself at the front of the line for local extremists trying to destroy public transportation in the St. Louis region. Martin was one of the first people to follow the anti-transit group on Twitter, and yesterday he retweeted the following from Jim Durbin:
Durbin's post, unsurprisingly, is completely misinformed. Durbin claims that the public transportation ad is a "lie" because it says, "Some of us use it, all of us need it." He suggests that the money raised if Proposition A passes will only be used for expansion, and that Citizens for Better Transit is "lying" by suggesting that it's needed for Metro.
First of all, perhaps Durbin didn't notice, but the commercial run by CBT does not even mention the Proposition A campaign. So his suggestion that they're "lying" about the campaign is incoherent. But more importantly, Durbin does not even have the most basic understanding of what the stakes are for Proposition A. Metro had to cut funding last year after Proposition M did not pass. They were bailed out by the state and able to restore some (but not all) services, but they can't keep these services running unless their revenue is increased. The reality is that if Proposition A does not pass, Metro will have to make significant cuts in services, including light rail schedules, bus service, and call-a-ride. So I could perhaps say that Durbin is lying, but that would assume that he actually had some idea what he was talking about.
Back to Ed Martin. Why in the world would a candidate for office in the St. Louis region get behind a campaign that would cripple any future hope for quality public transportation in the city? I'm hopeful that Proposition A will pass, but who knows, maybe Martin, Durbin and other extremists will successfully misinform voters enough to beat the campaign. If so, any hope Martin had of running a competitive campaign will be completely ruined.
Why do I say this? Because just like last time, if funding is cut for public transportation, thousands of people will be left without ways to get to work. The elderly and disabled who rely on call-a-ride will be seriously inconvenienced. It will be a disaster, just like it was last year. And everyone will know that Ed Martin, as a local political personality with a big microphone, is one of the reasons the campaign failed. Does he seriously think anyone in St. Louis would vote for him after he tries to take out a crucial part of St. Louis infrastructure?