PBS Exposes the Joys of Transit

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NOW host David Brancaccio does an interview on the LA Metro. Click through for the full video.

The latest episode of NOW is surely the most effective takedown of car-dependent planning ever broadcast in news magazine format. Adhering to the familiar contours of pocketbook journalism, "Driven to Despair" starts with a sympathetic portrayal of the Schleighs, a family who moved to a southern California exurb seven years ago. With their adjustable rate mortgage about to reset and gas prices already busting the family budget, they need a way out.

What follows can be fairly described as a 25-minute ode to the time- and money-saving benefits of transit, complete with a brief history of the Los Angeles streetcar system and a rueful suggestion that the Presidential candidates should address transportation more forcefully.

Watching the Schleighs and their neighbors react to the idea of riding a train to work — sneering, in one case — it’s all too apparent why someone running for national office would skirt the issue. But you also realize that if a national pol were to finally go out on that limb, he or she may find voters more receptive to the idea of better trains and buses than feared.

"Driven to Despair" will be broadcast on PBS affiliates tonight (check local listings). It’s the first part in a NOW series on infrastructure called "Blueprint America."

Enjoy the weekend, Streetsbloggers. We’ll be back on Tuesday.

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