America's congestion conundrum and the true cost of driving
A spokesman for the Department of Transportation says that the DOT understands the gravity of the problem and considers it their top priority. They're currently funding 18 light-rail projects and offer tax credits to companies that subsidize mass transit for their employees. The problem, however, is that the number of mass transit users has actually gone down since 1990. The director of a vanpool service puts it best, "The standard reaction to [building mass transit] is 'Great. Hopefully everybody else will do it so I can drive on uncongested roads.'"
One oft-suggested solution to getting people out of their cars and into buses and trains is to raise the overall cost of driving. We saw some of these effects when gas prices spiked this last summer, however, as we can't control the per-gallon cost of fuel, some say we should raise peak-time tolls among other things in an effort to raise the cost of car travel. The reasoning is based on the notion that the true cost of driving should include the price of building a viable public transportation system for the future. Is it too much to ask of drivers? If we don't pay for it now, who eventually will? And when?
[Source: Christian Science Monitor]
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