He stated it is unrealistic to assume there will be additional funding and that if substantial money is spent on transit, we will be unable to address the highly congested roads and the aging bridges and highways. Referencing the Minneapolis I-35 bridge collapse, Gordon said there needs to be more government spending on current infrastructure.
He also stressed that states and local government would be better to serve the needs of their citizens as they better know the community needs and goals; federal government has other responsibilities and a cookie-cutter policy to meet the needs of all areas risks not meeting the needs of any.
The cross examination was conducted by Avril Gordon Joseph said the status quo is blatantly against low income, asked how spending money on highway infrastructure helps those that can't afford cars . Gordon said as cars are the primary mode of transportation, the funding would be helping more people and with states having closer ties to their citizens, they will know what's best.
Darius Adejo presented the negative rebuttal and stressed that automobiles are the primary mode and spending more on urban mass transit doesn't make sense. He also talked about goods being transported via roads and highways and if trucking can't efficiently move products, the urban areas will receive a lack of goods.
Looking in his home area of Baltimore, the average commuting time for students was 23 minutes so transit is already efficiently moving students. Given the current political climate, he said, people do not trust the federal government to spend their tax dollars responsibly, and state and local government would be better able to meet the needs of their residents.
Gordon Joseph's affirmative response talked about studies of TOD of 42 stations in 12 different metro areas and that there was no cause and effect between TOD and gentrification. She stressed that cities can take many steps to avoid gentrification by instituting policies. She also talked about some of the benefits gentrification has brought to areas, including streets fixed and stores built.
While it's easier to delay investment in the short-term, Gordon Joseph talked about the hidden costs, including future maintenance equipment breakdowns. And her final points talked to the point of the number of people in urban areas that have stopped using cars and the trend of younger people choosing to use transit, bikes and walking over automobiles.
For the affirmative rebuttal, Gordon referenced Chicago, where after increasing transit and shutting down Caprini Green, disparity still exists between the "haves" and the "have-nots." He said they say raising tides rises all boats, but that assumes you have a boat.
He also talked about no clear link between mass transit and food sources, asking whether increased transit would change people's health and food habits.
Fraser ended the affirmative restating how transit alleviates urban sprawl, provides improved food options, provides access to better education, increases tax revenues, and while it may lead to gentrification, cities can enact policies to mitigate that.
Judges Comments and votes
Carter: The students showed tremendous capability and the arguments were very clearly articulated. Vote: Affirmative
Cunnigham: The students are the best of the brightest and the research they’ve done is phenomenal. Vote: Affirmative
Kurland: The fact they were able to get up and speak with such poise and command was commendable, though would have liked to see more cross examination from both sides. Vote: Affirmative
McCall: As a high school teacher, she was proud to say she has similar students. She particularly liked the examples from their personal communities as many of the students in the audience were able to identify with what they were saying about getting to school with mass transit. Vote: Affirmative
Priddy: She commended their bravery for getting up in front of a roomful of transportation experts and was impressed with the research and personal connection. While several judges had commented on Gordon speaking too quickly, especially during his rap introduction, Priddy pointed out that he may have had stronger points but they didn’t all come across because some were missed. Vote: Affirmative