What is NEC?

NEC is a word that I just made up.

It stands for Net Expenditure per Citizen for transporation.


For too long, we have been playing the Penny Wise Game (penny wise, pound foolish for those who need it).

This means that we are asking the wrong questions over, and over again.

Can we afford a bike lane? Can we afford a bullet train. And so on.

Each “alternative” aka more efficient and fun form of trasporation needs to crawl through glass just to get considered for funding while we always have another trillion dollars or two for more roads that we won’t be able to pay for.

There has to be a better way.

There is, and it’s called NEC. Basically, this means that we need to look at the average of what everyone will spend on transporation. We need to account for ALL modes and ALL costs. Price each parking lot, for example. Currently, San Diego doesn’t even _know_ how many spots that they own.

Then we can figure out how much each transporation project is going to save us. That’s right, save, not cost.

For example, we might pay a bit more for a good bus service, but now they don’t have to build a parking spot for me, and I don’t need to own and operate an auto. Plus, we don’t build that extra travel lane. Ultimately, with increased taxes, even, my net costs go down.

But you can’t do just you which is why it’s an AVERAGE.

So we have each person, selishly, and foolishly only thinking of what they will pay for transporation NOW. They discount things that they think are free like parking and their sunk cost of buying a car.

This is bad math.

No wonder our city budget is so messed up if we can’t even do proper counting of basic things.

Until we get a better hold on the NEC for the city NOW, it’s foolish to even talk about spending a single cent on any more lanes or parking spots.


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