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Dave Ross’ big, new idea inspired by private space flight

A mural by Fernandezgraphics of Blue Origin and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is seen on the wall of a building Tuesday in Van Horn, Texas. (Jacob Ford/Odessa American via AP)

Here’s my latest big idea, inspired by these dueling headlines:

From MSNBC: “Jeff Bezos’ live Blue Origin space launch is the pinnacle of waste.” And from the New York Post: “Forget the Democratic haters — Bezos flight represents innovation, brilliant future.”

Personally, I hope the Post is right, and that Blue Origin becomes the new Boeing, and that the research headquarters in Kent becomes the new Red Barn. Or, I guess, “Blue” barn.

But there is a question about where Blue Origin goes from here. Is it going to be about SAVING our blue planet, or just ESCAPING it? Which is why I think Blue Origin ought to use at least part of its creative talent to re-imagine mass transit.

I see that post-COVID transit ridership is way down across the country, even as car traffic – and the pollution that goes with it – returns to normal. I know this makes transit skeptics giddy, but if you want a thriving city, people have to get to it. And that requires some form of mass transit that people actually want to use.

A few years ago, a Japanese company came up with a hybrid bus with two sets of wheels that could ride the existing commuter rails then drive the streets for a more direct trip. So, what about self-driving electric passenger pods that could zip above traffic using the light rail system, then transfer to the city streets, so you get to your destination faster than any private car ever could?

A design team that can land a rocket booster and get ordinary people into space and back could make that happen – and maybe even finance the project with the profits from selling 10-minute space rides to rich people.

Saving the cities, saving the Earth, and getting the wealthy to pay for it cheerfully. No wealth tax necessary.

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