Patrick McIlheran, the JS' sop to the far, far right wing gets it amazingly wrong when he writes about transit and road funding.
"Roads are paid for by taxes drivers pay when they use the roads. Transit is paid for by taxes drivers pay when they don't use transit and by taxes everyone pays when they don't necessarily use it, either."
That roads are paid for by drivers when they use them will come as a big surprise to lots and lots of city residents who pay special assessments when the roads in front of their houses are repaid or reconstructed. Milwaukee residents also pay a snow and ice removal fee even if they don't drive. (Memo to Patrick: The snow and ice are removed from the roads.)
Finally, there is the study by 1000 Friends of Wisconsin, which lays out how much in property taxes residents pay because WisDOT spends money building bigger freeways that aren't needed instead of paying eligible costs for local road repair: a whopping $1.3 billion statewide annually.
Yup, it's another head-slapper from McIlheran. But do we slap our own heads for reading his drivel, McIlheran's head for writing such drivel, or the editors' heads for printing such drivel?
What is especially troubling is that there is no doubt that JS editors know that roads are not completely paid for by drivers, so why do they let McIlheran assert such falsehoods without a peep of protest? Yes, he's an opinion columnist and so has tremendous leeway, but quantifying funding sources for roads is not an opinion -- it is a fact or, as in this case, an untruth.
Do no journalistic standards apply to columnists? And if not, why not?
More on McIlheran's loose grip on road-funding reality from Jim Rowen and John Michlig.