Living in an increasingly backwards-looking place | WisCommunity

Living in an increasingly backwards-looking place

This Wisconsin governor and this Wisconsin legislature, controlled by Republicans and tea party ideology, are to put it mildly against mass transit. People should just buy cars and use highways, like God intended, or else they should walk. Bicycles? Another no-no, because, hey, they get in the way of cars.

So, defund intercity passenger rail improvements, cut public bus subsidies, and label as wasteful and verboten any more advanced mass transit alternatives such as intercity commuter rail, electric trolleys and other systems that are enjoying rapid growth in other regions of the US.

Whereas, thoughtful, conservation-minded, health-oriented states and countries are very forward-looking. For instance, consider this report from Agence France-Presse, headlined "Paris makes public transport free to tackle severe pollution":

Paris authorities said Thursday they would make public transport free for three days to encourage drivers to leave their vehicles behind due to severe pollution caused by unusually warm weather and lack of wind... . The French capital has been under maximum pollution alert for several days, as have many other regions in the country.

And where is the air pollution coming from? The report explains: "The air pollution has also affected other nearby countries, including Belgium where authorities have reduced the maximum speed allowed on main roads in a bid to reduce the strong concentration of polluting particles in the atmosphere."

Yup, it's coming from those cars that our current state lawmakers think are so wonderful. A big difference between the US and France, though. Here, car mileage is significantly down, especially among younger adults, and -- except for Milwaukee, where as county executive Walker helped engineer much higher fares and fewer routes -- bus transit and mass transit ridership is up nationally, and people willingly pay to use it. Oh, well, so much for the free market for providing choices for us to choose among. 


March 14, 2014 - 1:18pm