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New IPhone App Fails Government Transportation Funding Support Criteria

A friend of mine who's a biophysicist popped in to see me the other day.  He was all excited and showed me his “patent pending” letter for his newest invention.
Steven Polzin | December 23, 2009, 5pm PST
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A friend of mine who's a biophysicist popped in to see me the other day.  He was all excited and showed me his "patent pending" letter for his newest invention.  He was seeking help in deploying his new iPhone app.  He had inquired about government grants, but was summarily dismissed as he explained his new transportation solution would eliminate thousands of transportation jobs.  And the whole concept of shovel ready didn't make much sense to him as his project only required some software and a new low cost computer chip. 

He said he explained to the bureaucrat that his iPhone app would revolutionize transportation and provide phenomenal increases in productivity and improvements to quality of life.  No emissions, no GHG, no accidents, but no jobs either.  It wouldn't stimulate development around stations because there would be no need for stations. 

No jobs, - the bureaucrats weren't interested – therefore no money.

He couldn't understand the infatuation with jobs - everybody knows the most efficient and productivity enhancing transportation investments require less jobs, not more jobs.  So why would evaluators be equating benefits with job creation?

I explained to my colleague that we are in a strange new world. The fundamental benefits of mobility have faded in significance as our metrics for evaluating transportation investments are more focused on responding to the political issue du jour.   If he wanted any help in deploying a transportation solution he'd somehow need to create lots and lots of jobs.

He briefly pondered my advice and said he would be back with an alternative strategy.  He had an idea that was snow shovel ready, would be very good for everyone's health and would create lots of jobs. 

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. 


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