Hampton Roads must share the burden and benefit of light rail

Editorial from The Virginian-Pilot
July 24, 2016

The Tide loses money.
So does the Virginia Beach City Public Schools.
So does Interstate 64. So does the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel.
So do the Chesapeake Police Department, Portsmouth Fire Rescue & Emergency Services and the Western Tidewater Regional Jail.
Public services don’t make money. They’re not designed to. They’re the resources without which a community would be meaningfully endangered or impoverished.
See: The Virginia Opera. The Suffolk Center for the Cultural Arts. Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Every single library in America.
That’s the way public amenities work: Society shares the costs even if individuals don’t partake. Otherwise, we — collectively — become poorer: intellectually, artistically, in our ability to move and work and protect each other and engage in commerce.
Such shared propositions have been the premise of this republic since the beginning. It went unsaid for too long.
We are left now with a tattered social contract, in which “leaders” demonize noble effort, and in which “citizens” denigrate the very idea of communal goals and plans.
It threatens our future and what we bequeath to future generations.
The notion of shared burdens has been utterly lost on folks who clamor for government to be run like a business.
But government is not a business, any more than a church or a school.