Solving transportation issues are tough because despite the economic and environment problems singular vehicles cause most believe that have an inalienable right to them. Cars and trucks pollute our air with particulates and add greenhouse gases (GHG) to the tune of 27% (according to the Environmental Protection Agency, EPA) costs our public health heavily with a death rate consistent with the Vietnam War in its worst years, and makes it a major part of anyone’s budget because of insurance rates, purchase price, upkeep, and infrastructure (roads and bridges) to accommodate them. Not to mention parking:
“Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently proposed a $2 fee on weekday parking in downtown public lots and garages to help pay for other transportation improvements like new bus routes and bike lanes. Other cities have had some success with similar plans, but some Chicagoans are skeptical. “ Chicago's 'Congestion Fee' Gets Chilly Reception - NCPR News from NPR Oct 21, 2011 (All Things Considered)
Under our present transportation structure, where vehicles define our neighborhoods, all need them to get around no matter your political, philosophical, or religious affiliation. Meaning, even if you are a Laissez-faire Capitalist you still depend on your government, public funds, to provide you with roads and bridges and street lights and all the other accoutrements needed so you can move that car someplace. And, all that costs a lot of money, public money in taxes that will suck the money from the state long before it gets to education and protecting our environment. When the roads are broke transportation stops.
Groups, individuals, and governments are trying to fix this bad decision to go whole-hog with vehicular transportation instead of rail back in the 1950”s, when we had a lot of, subway, light-rail, and active transportation. At the Toronto Film Festival this year, I saw a great documentary Urbanized: A Documentary Film by Gary Hustwit where one industrious mayor stated outrageously, “It’s not the government’s job to provide drivers with parking spaces.” Or, something like that. Be sure to see “Urbanized” it is a great documentary about urban existence, where most of our world’s population is living.
Imagine if our government of which President Reagan said, “Government is the problem” suddenly stepped away from providing upkeep to our transportation system and even providing parking spaces. What if those loony’s who think money and the greed for it can solve for all our problems, including transportation issues, with the “invisible hand” were really able to get away with the inconvenience of their ideology?
Then, without the government providing us with roads and bridges, we’d be on our own. We’d ride bicycles, we would walk, and we would get on buses.
Think of it: Is it the job of the government to provide you with a parking space for your car? And, if not how are you going to park your car downtown?