Idaho on Your Side and The Associated Press recently reported on the struggles that Boise's public transportation officials are having as they attempt to create a new transit hub.
The proposed hub would be across the street from the State Capitol building.
It would be nice if there were good, sound, logical reasons for the controversy. Unfortunately, the reasons don't seem to amount to much more than pure snobbery. The Idaho Statesman indicated that State Representatives Brent Crane and John Vander Woude told Mayer Bieter that they didn't want "those people" near the Statehouse.
"Those people" would be the homeless, who Crane believes are especially attracted to transit hubs.
The assertion doesn't make much sense. If you want to reduce the number of homeless people that you're forced to look at on a daily basis the answer is not to create a system where only those people who can afford to drive gas guzzlers can get to where they need to be. Nor is it to assume that human worth is measured by the things that one can afford to own.
The answer is to expand opportunities so that fewer people will have to live on the streets in the first place. Expanding transportation infrastructure will create more jobs. It will also provide people with a means to get to those jobs that they don't currently have. Both of these things together would in turn reduce the number of homeless people.
But the point is actually rather moot, considering the way that the project has been outlined. The transit center would not just be a bus station. It would hold apartment homes, stores, and offices, places that create more jobs and places to live. It would do this while serving as a hub for bike sharing, car sharing, van pools, shuttles, taxis, and the city bus system.
Raising the specter of "those people" seems all the more spurious when one considers the fact that Mayer Bieter had announced plans to place a police station within the hub itself specifically with an eye towards reducing or eliminating problems with the transportation hub.
Fortunately, the fight isn't over yet. Valley Regional Transit Executive Director Kelli Fairless has already stated that she intends to keep trying, and will soon be forming citizen action committees to address this important issue.