Is there a Koch Brothers connection to Duke's light rail opposition?

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There are five million reasons to think so:

Duke has recently announced that it is accepting $5 million from the Charles Koch Foundation for the “Center for the History of Political Economy,” a center initially established with funding from Koch network donor and anti-public crusader Art Pope.

The Duke community should not just be concerned about Koch’s growing support for corrosive ideology, but the fact that his vast “dark money” network seeks to influence politics by “leveraging” higher education—specifically by influencing what is taught, and by whom. Duke’s contract with Koch gives the donor an implicit veto power over programming by allowing the Koch Foundation the discretion to pull their money at any time with as little as thirty days’ notice.

Bolding mine, because when you consider that leverage in context with AFP's accelerated and very effective opposition to light rail nationwide, it begins to stink:

In cities and counties across the country — including Little Rock, Ark.; Phoenix, Ariz.; southeast Michigan; central Utah; and here in Tennessee — the Koch brothers are fueling a fight against public transit, an offshoot of their longstanding national crusade for lower taxes and smaller government.

Early polling here had suggested that the $5.4 billion transit plan would easily pass. It was backed by the city’s popular mayor and a coalition of businesses. Its supporters had outspent the opposition, and Nashville was choking on cars.

But the outcome of the May 1 ballot stunned the city: a landslide victory for the anti-transit camp, which attacked the plan as a colossal waste of taxpayers’ money.

Supporters of transit investments point to research that shows that they reduce traffic, spur economic development and fight global warming by reducing emissions. Americans for Prosperity counters that public transit plans waste taxpayer money on unpopular, outdated technology like trains and buses just as the world is moving toward cleaner, driverless vehicles.

Again, bolding mine, because damn. That is exactly the same conclusion those authors came to in the diary just before this one. I'm not a big fan of coincidences, especially where the Koch Brothers are concerned:

Public transit, Americans for Prosperity says, goes against the liberties that Americans hold dear. “If someone has the freedom to go where they want, do what they want,” Ms. Venable said, “they’re not going to choose public transit.”

The Kochs’ opposition to transit spending stems from their longstanding free-market, libertarian philosophy. It also dovetails with their financial interests, which benefit from automobiles and highways.

One of the mainstay companies of Koch Industries, the Kochs’ conglomerate, is a major producer of gasoline and asphalt, and also makes seatbelts, tires and other automotive parts. Even as Americans for Prosperity opposes public investment in transit, it supports spending tax money on highways and roads.

“Stopping higher taxes is their rallying cry,” said Ashley Robbins, a researcher at Virginia Tech who follows transportation funding. “But at the end of the day, fuel consumption helps them.”

While it could be said that $5 million is not enough to raise any eyebrows at Duke University, the potential conflict of interest re light rail should not be dismissed out of hand. But their plausible deniability is solid enough that we can't expect mainstream news to cover it, or even ask a few probing questions.

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The $5 million ...

... is the donation that is public that we know about.

We have no way of knowing if larger donations have been promised, connected with other Duke programs.