According to the reports I hear, the Carter appointees and the new Reagan people are working smoothly to make the transition. You don't find the bitterness that has been present during the changeovers of the administrations. In many cases, the Carter people even seem happy to turn over the reins of government to the Reaganities.
I dropped in on one of the departments where a Carter appointee was briefing a Reagan lieutenant on what to expect.
The Carter person said, "Now in this blue metal file cabinet are all the plans for improving mass transportation in the country."
"Good, I'll go through them this afternoon."
"They cover everything from buses, to subways, to railroads, to movable sidewalks. If it transports people -- we've made a study of it."
"Excellent. What are in those six green cabinets over there?"
"The reasons why we can't build them. Let me show you how the system works. Let's say you were planning to build a 165-mile-an-hour train for the Northeast corridor of the United States. You would look up 'Super Train' in the blue cabinet. We have photos of Japanese trains, French trains, German trains and Swiss trains, as well as plans for each of those systems."
"They all look beautiful," the Reagan man said.
"Now we go over to this green file cabinet and look up 'Super Train.' This photo shows you what would happen if you tried to go 165 miles an hour on an American track bed."
The Reagan man said, "It looks like the train has crashed into a garbage dump somewhere in Philadelphia."
"It's actually Baltimore. Our engineers have figured out that at 165 miles an hour, the Super Train would fly off the tracks in Philadelphia and land just about here in Maryland, unless it smashed into a freight train in Washington first."
"How would I find the answer to that problem?"
"You go to this green file cabinet here and look up 'Cost of laying new tracks for Super Train.'"
"Twelve billion dollars?!" the Reagan man exclaimed.
"That doesn't include switching equipment and computers. When you have a train going that fast, you have to keep the tracks clear at all times, because it can't stop if it sees something ahead. In order to make sure that it is safe, you would have to build electric gate at all the railroad crossings, which we figure will cost another $6 billion."
"I guess we better forget about the Super Train. What other ideas are in the flies?"
"We have an excellent plan for busing."
"Gov. Reagan is against busing."
"This would not be used for busing school children; it would be used for busing people to work. Here is a prototype of a new air-conditioned vehicle that would seat 80 people and have room for 60 standees."
"That makes a lot of sense. What's wrong with it?"
"To make it pay for itself, it would cost $4 per person for a two-mile ride. The cities won't buy them unless we give them $1 billion in supplemental payments."
"That ridiculous. What about monorails? Gov. Reagan was very impressed with the monorial he saw at Disneyland."
"I think the monorail folder is over here. Yes, here it is. A monorail, at present construction estimates, would cost $4 million a foot -- without stairways for the stations." e
"Do you people have any mass transportation ideas the new president could implement?"
The Carter man went through the files.
"Here's one our research and development people have been working on. It's a dog sled that can pull six people at one time and it only costs $900."
"Now you're talking. What's wrong with it?"
"You need artificial snow macnines every block along the route or the dogs will refuse to pull the sleds."
"You Carter people aren't leaving us much to work with."
"That isn't true. We've ordered 14 new green file cabinets for the office, and here's the number of the General Services Administration in case you need any more. t