Kingston Trio: The MTA

by John Washington on March 9, 2016

Kingston_TrioA wise ScottsdaleCitizen called me this morning to tell me that all the continuing press for light rail by Linda Milhaven, Virginia Korte, Suzanne Klapp (the latter two up for reelection this fall), Jim Derouin (shill), etc., reminded him of the old Kingston Trio song “MTA.”

Referencing the KT song might make you think I’m only concerned about the high fares of the light rail, but it’s more than that. Mind you, the fares don’t even come close to covering operating costs. Therefore, every taxpayer winds up paying the fares through taxpayer-funded subsidies and cannibalization of transit funds that otherwise might go to better bus service, paving streets, etc.

More than that, however, the construction phase imposes a permanent degradation of the physical character of the neighborhoods through which it is built.

And the capital cost is twenty times that of the next most expensive form of public transit. A portion of the construction cost is typically paid by the federal government with our tax money that went to Washington so they could “give” a portion of it back to us.

Worst of all is that that “federal money” comes with strings called “grant assurances.” Among those promises our local elected leaders and city staffers make to the feds is that they’ll never shut down or curtail the rail service…no matter how much money it loses (a lot), or how ineffective it is at actually moving people (less than 2% of commuters use it).

So once a community “gets on the light rail,” we can never get off it.

Without further adieu, the lyrics to MTA:

Well, let me tell you of the story of a man named Charlie
On a tragic and fateful day
He put ten cents in his pocket, kissed his wife and family
Went to ride on the MTA

Well, did he ever return?
No he never returned and his fate is still unlearned
He may ride forever ‘neath the streets of Boston
And he’s the man who never returned

Charlie handed in his dime at the Kendall Square station
And he changed for Jamaica Plain
When he got there the conductor told him, “One more nickel”
Charlie couldn’t get off of that train

But did he ever return?
No he never returned and his fate is still unlearned
He may ride forever ‘neath the streets of Boston
He’s the man who never returned

Now, all night long Charlie rides through the station
Crying, “What will become of me?
How can I afford to see my sister in Chelsea
Or my cousin in Roxbury?”

But did he ever return?
No he never returned and his fate is still unlearned
He may ride forever ‘neath the streets of Boston
He’s the man who never returned

Charlie’s wife goes down to the Sculley Square station
Every day at quarter past two
And through the open window she hands Charlie a sandwich
As the train comes rumbling through

But did he ever return?
No he never returned and his fate is still unlearned
He may ride forever ‘neath the streets of Boston
He’s the man who never returned
Pick it Davey, kind of hurts my fingers

Now, ye citizens of Boston
Don’t you think it’s a scandal
How the people have to pay and pay?
Fight the fare increase, vote for George O’Brian
Get poor Charlie off the MTA

Or else he’ll never return
No he’ll never return and his fate is still unlearned
He may ride forever ‘neath the streets of Boston
He’s the man who never returned

He’s the man who never returned
He’s the man who never returned
He’s the man who never returned
Ain’t you, Charlie?

Read more: Kingston Trio – M.T.A. Lyrics | MetroLyrics

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