The debate over who pays for the cost of running the electric grid in a world of more rooftop solar (Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez’s #AB1139) reminds me of the history of how privately run mass transit dealt with the rise of cars. It points to a future of public ownership.

Most mass transit in the US was built by private companies — often electric utilities, for which running trolleys was a big use of their product. As more people got cars, there were fewer riders left to cover the cost of running the system.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Key_Route_pier_and_trains_1907_postcard.jpg

By the mid 20th century, private companies…

Alfred Twu

Artist and Designer in Berkeley, California

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