She is correct in her assumption that public transit operating funding is dimly viewed by politicians. In her article she questions why politicians often say that public transit doesn't benefit everyone so it shouldn't be supported while items like parks, roads and other infrastructure are (and let's not forget the $10,000 taxpayer funded BBQ pit at a senior center if your in Pennsylvania).
She does miss this fact though: Funding for transit capital projects which do little beside raise the cost of providing service is quite easy to obtain and politicians fight to get in line to hand that money out.
A big part of the answer she seeks comes from political legacy. Build a park, create a new highway and the politician, after they bite the dust and often before, can get a shiny brass plaque with their name on it for all of eternity proclaiming they were the ones responsible for this park or that road, etc.
Her example of Gwinnett County Commissioner Mike Beaudreau's comments reminded me of many politicians I have come across. They all have the same disdain for transit and fail to understand its benefits. They only embrace transit if they think it can further their political career or shut up some noisy detractors of their work.
The excuse that public transit is expensive and used by few is just that, an excuse. I pay for schools I don't use and know many others that don't have children to use the public school system but we still have to fork over money for the indoctrination centers. I pay for roads in the boondocks that are lucky they have 5 cars a day on them and I know I'll never have to use that road. I know many that haven't been to a public park in decades, including myself. Yet these all get funded with a smile by the politicians who proclaim "everyone benefits". Hardly.
A viable public transit system is an important part to the city economy. Without a good system, you will lose business. Not just a few lost sales from people that can't get to town to buy from the stores but entire businesses that pack up and move to somewhere that their capital is treated better. Far more people benefit from a viable transit system than just those that ride. Politicians are either too stupid to understand that fact or so dedicated to creating something they can hang a brass plaque on with their name that they ignore it.
Susan's article is very thought provoking and brings up an excellent point. After reading it, I was already going through the list of projects that my local and state politicians are rushing to give money to and very few of the favored projects benefited everyone. In fact, many were self-serving and benefited only the politicians and a handful of their contributors.
The "it must benefit everyone" argument is always applied to operating funding for transit by the politicians and rarely to anything else they rush out to give money to. While public transit does need to do a lot of house cleaning to make itself more efficient, it benefits far more people, including those that don't use the system, than the neighborhood taxpayer funded meth clinic or a new taxpayer funded road into a private housing development.