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Re: FW: [Tr2000] How the US fell out of love with its cars

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  • Mike Neuman
    ... a lack ... North ... There is good reason for lack of proper funding and respect for mass transit (unfortunately) which also spills over onto other forms
    Message 1 of 6 , Jan 31, 2006
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      --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "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 in
      > 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),
      sidewalks, ....

      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

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