First, there's the hook-sentence:
What is the appropriate response to Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, who as General Motors prepared to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection declared that he wants to "coerce people out of their cars"?
I have a response, alright, but if I put it into electrons, I would have visitors. With dark suits. And non-concealed sidearms.
OK, going on...
First there was the "Federal Surface Transportation Policy and Planning Act of 2009," introduced in May by Jay Rockefeller (D., W.Va.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, and Frank Lautenberg (D., N.J.), chairman of the Subcommittee on Surface Transportation. Next, in June, came the "Surface Transportation Authorization Act of 2009," introduced by James Oberstar (D., Minn.), chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
Messrs. Rockefeller and Lautenberg aim to "reduce per capita motor vehicle miles traveled on an annual basis." Mr. Oberstar wants to establish a federal "Office of Livability" to ensure that "States and metropolitan areas achieve progress towards national transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals."
Isn't that precious? "Reduce per-cap ....miles." As the author of the column mentions, the vast majority of "per-cap miles" is NOT driven for fun and entertainment; it's driven for a purpose, whether getting to/from work, to/from the grocer, or to/from school and associated events.
Frankly, I don't know anyone who 'just drives around' aimlessly--and everyone I know plots their driving to include 'on-the-way-I'll-pick-up X' efficiencies. So what's to reduce?
Or maybe I'm hanging with the wrong crowd. I don't have a 6-SUV caravan following me around like the President does.
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What's to reduce (or should I say eliminate)? Easy - Wisconsin Dells, Great America, Road America, the big shopping malls, Best Buy, WalMart, the ability to see whether the grass really is greener on the other side and then take advantage of that. In short, the entire suburban lifestyle.
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