Saturday, November 8, 2014

Car culture is falling and taking us down with it in Alabama

AL.com: "You need not be a fan of urban buses or high-speed trains to have concerns about transportation funding and infrastructure in Alabama. There's also a crisis looming for folks committed to roads and bridges. Federal and state gasoline taxes, which support these projects, haven't been adjusted since the 1990s and aren't indexed for inflation. Unless policymakers act, rising construction costs and dwindling funds will lead to more potholes and greater risk of a bridge collapse.

Transportation policy affects nearly every aspect of life in Alabama, from urban traffic jams to rural residents' ability to get health care. Whether a person cares about foreign oil dependency or wants ideas for job creation, transportation policy touches on economic concerns as well as social justice.

Every merchant wants customers to be able to get to the store to do some shopping. Every employer wants workers to be able to get to work on time. And every Alabamian wants to be able to get around, whether the trip is a crucial errand or just a social call.

Transportation is at the core of these overlapping concerns. Yet our current system seems to suggest that if you don't have steady access to a car or truck (along with the money to buy insurance and put gas in it), your time matters quite a bit less.

This is no way to run a state. Elderly Alabamians who can't drive shouldn't be cut off from the rest of society. Folks who can't afford a vehicle shouldn't be forced to rely on family or neighbors to get around. People with disabilities ought to have the option of taking a quick, reliable and reasonably priced bus to their destination. Other places aren't perfect, but many have figured this out and offer mass transit options that create more opportunities for everyone to participate in modern life."

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