KOCH TARGET: The billionaires fight transit taxes across the country, including one for Rock Region Metro in Little Rock.

The New York Times today reports
on national efforts, including in Little Rock, by the Koch billionaires to kill tax support for public transit.

The Koch-financed political arm, Americans for Prosperity, was instrumental recently in the surprise defeat of a transit tax in Nashville. The Kochs see transit as a waste of money. Those without cars who can’t afford to live near jobs — think the huge workforce at the bottom end of the scale at UAMS — see transit in a different light.


From the Times:

Supporters of transit investments point to research that shows that they reduce traffic, spur economic development and fight global warming by reducing emissions. Americans for Prosperity counters that public transit plans waste taxpayer money on unpopular, outdated technology like trains and buses just as the world is moving toward cleaner, driverless vehicles.

Most American cities do not have the population density to support mass transit, the group says. It also asserts that transit brings unwanted gentrification to some areas, while failing to reach others altogether.

Public transit, Americans for Prosperity says, goes against the liberties that Americans hold dear. “If someone has the freedom to go where they want, do what they want,” Ms. Venable said, “they’re not going to choose public transit.”

Americans for Prosperity crowed about it when voters in 2016 rejected a dedicated quarter-cent sales tax to support the Central Arkansas transit system, Rock Region Metro.


Noted today’s Times article:

In Little Rock, Americans for Prosperity made more than 39,000 calls and knocked on nearly 5,000 doors to fight a proposed sales-tax increase worth $18 million to fund a bus and trolley network.

The Kochs insist, contrary to what some critics say, that they fight transit in favor of highway spending. Between asphalt, car parts and fuel, the Kochs make a lot of money from increased spending on highways.


“Our decisions are based on what is most likely to help people improve their lives, regardless of the policy and its effect on our bottom line,” he [Koch spokesman David Dziok] said. Koch Industries has opposed steel tariffs, for example, even though the company owns a steel mill in Arkansas, he said.

What? You didn’t know the Big River steel mill built in Arkansas with hundreds of millions in bonds, grants and other help from taxpayers, plusinvestment of public teacher retirement money, was corporate welfare for the Kochs? Here’s an epic catalog of tax money given to the Kochs for their steel mill in Arkansas. Grab your salt when a Kochheadstarts talking about “free market” principles.