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Could government coordinate car pools?

February 9, 2012
Gary Andersen, Lee Smith , Fairmont Sentinel

It doesn't thrill us that government - Martin County, some cities and the state of Minnesota - could shell out $100,000 annually to create a bus route from Fairmont to Jackson and Blue Earth. Don't get us wrong:?We like the idea of reducing costs for commuters so they can get to work in those communities. We are fans of the idea of regionalization when it comes to boosting jobs and incomes.

However, it seems it would have been possible - could still be possible - for government to coordinate car pooling instead of committing resources for buses, managers, maintenance and drivers. It seems to us that government, in general, too often looks for a top-down solution rather than simply trying to aid or facilitate a private effort.

We see this at the federal level too. Such as:?Short of shutting it down, couldn't the U.S. Department of Education work as a clearinghouse for the best ideas around the country, rather than trying to impose heavy-handed solutions? You get the idea.

In any case, we hope the commuter bus at least benefits the workers and businesses it is supposed to assist. The six-month trial is meant to alleviate financial strain caused by high gas prices and to give workers more opportunities to find jobs, rather than being forced to only search locally.

In the broadest sense, the commuter bus fills a need. We're not sure it makes sense as an example of how to fix this problem, or the next one that comes along.



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