Re: FW: [Tr2000] How the US fell out of love with its cars
- --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Andrew Dawson"
> You make some good points, but still one of the biggest problems is
> of proper funding and respect for mass transit on all levels inNorth
> America....There is good reason for lack of proper funding and respect for mass
transit (unfortunately) which also spills over onto other forms of
travel that should be respected more as well, such as bicycling and
The reason there is so much "respect" and funding for personal
automobile use is that the convenience, privacy, comfort, speed,
advertising and (still) the artificially low cost (compared to its
social and environmental cost) of car driving compared to other
travel modes is difficult to beat. Even with the higher gasoline
prices of late, once people have their own automobile, there must be
ample reason for them to choose an alternative mode (or resident
location) to personal automobile travel.
The reason has to be so enticing as to make it a "no-brainer"
decision for them to routinely go from Point "A" to Point "B" using
something other than their car; and eventually for the whole
community to go car-free.
There's only one thing Americans love more than their cars and SUVs
and that is MONEY. Cold hard cash (or a rebate check at the end of
the year when they can prove they drove less) is what you need to
offer them if you want them to reduce (or stop) driving. Offer that
to everyone and you might just get your car-free city. But make sure
you have ample alternatives to go along with it - bicycle trails,
mass transit (buses, street cars, trains, light rail),
So you offer to reward them with annual rebates at the end of a full
year for driving significantly less miles than (11,000 mile per year
per capita is the current average in the U.S.). The fewer miles they
drive in a year [on their own legally licensed vehicle or vehicles],
the larger financial reward they receive at the end of the year
(provided they enrolled in the program, which would be voluntary).
So where does all the money come from if this proposal were adopted
in the U.S.? (Choose one)
A. Increase in gasoline taxes;
B. Increase in vehicle license fees;
C. Both "A" and "B";
D. Exxon/Mobil 2005 year-end profits
E. All of the above.
Just think, if enough people reduce their driving levels
significantly, then we can stop building all those new and wider
highways, bridges and interchanges all over the landscape, and that
money can be used as well (or put toward higher and better uses than
Note: The money that would be rebated to the public would not
technically be a "cost"; rather, it would be a "transfer pavement".
The gasoline tax revenues contributed by those who choose to drive
the most in the U.S., polluting the air, contributing to global
warming and urban sprawl, etc., would be transferred to the people
who choose to drive the least and conserve energy and the