Metro wasn't supposed to be like this. Historian Zachary Schrag's thoroughly researched and gracefully written "The Great Society Subway" tells how Metro was conceived in the 1960s and built in the 1970s as an alternative to city-shredding freeways -- a triumph of forward-looking planning, regional cooperation and aesthetically pleasing design.And people say nasty things about Augustus Belmont and Samuel Insull and C. T. Yerkes.
If government is what we decide to do together, Metro seemed to be government at its best.
But after 40 years it has come to be government at its dreariest, with problems overlooked, maintenance deferred and safety scanted by employees secure against discipline or dismissal and more concerned about overtime pay and pensions than serving the public.
EPITAPH FOR THE FATAL CONCEIT.
Michael Barone quotes Arnold Kling. "It is becoming increasingly apparent that progress tends to arise from the evolution of decentralized trial-and-error processes more than from grand schemes launched by planners and revolutionaries." Washington's Metro reverts to type.