The new subway system in Washington, D.C., called Metro, is scheduled to open soon after six years of blasting, digging, and tremendous obstruction of traffic and business. It is a monument to the demands of the Federal bureaucrats that the rest of the country support them in the style to which they would like to be come accustomed.
The present price tag on the Washington, D.C. subway is $5 billion, and the rest of the country is being called upon to pay the bill. This is a whopping cost overrun twice the original estimate of $2.5 billion. Metro officials concede that they will be unable to pay off the original $1.2 billion in revenue bonds.
Due to the extremely low morals prevailing in our nation’s capital, the architects of this subway have had to incorporate a number of expensive safeguards to persuade people even to enter this underground subway system. It has been specially and expensively designed without any columns or other roof supports for fear that criminals will hide behind them before mugging or attack ing the passengers. A complex communications system will enable passengers to call for help quickly.
The walls of the 48 miles of subway are recessed and sepa rated from the public by railings in order to prevent the writing of obscenities. Automated fare collection, without human cashiers, eliminates the possibility of robberies.
Ticket vendors, motormen, and flagmen have all been re placed by machine marvels of the space age. To help discourage rapists and muggers, all washroom doors will be locked and cus tomers will have to get the keys from station attendants in glass-enclosed kiosks.
As an additional inducement to attract customers, the subway builders have gone to the huge expense of air conditioning. Since underground caves and tunnels remain relatively cool during the summer months, the need for this extravagance is not self-evident.
In order to reduce the noise that is common to other subways, Washington’s Metro will run on tracks laid on pliable pads under waffled ceilings inset with acoustical panels.
Even with all these expensive protections and comforts, there is considerable doubt that the citizens of Washington will want to take their chances underground among the many criminals and alcoholics who populate our nation’s capital.
Those characters might decide someday to celebrate the Bi centennial with the same reckless disregard of life, limb, and property with which they observed Human Kindness Day last May 10 when, during ceremonies at the Washington monument, some 500 persons were beaten, robbed, or molested, and 150 had to receive hospital treatment. One innocent passerby was stabbed in the eye with an ice pick.
If Washingtonians want to have a new subway, that is their privilege. They should not, however, be permitted to charge the cost to the rest of the country.