Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Tribune's Traffic Travails

This Tribune editorial missed a major point. The editorial advocated tax hikes now to fund new roads. It then ends with this quote: "Obviously, as a comprehensive package, these tax hikes are DOA on Capitol Hill. But legislators are going to have to do something beyond the status quo, or their constituents are going to find themselves spending more hours every day in traffic jams. Isn't that why we don't all want to live in Denver or Los Angeles?" The Tribune mistakenly assumes that to avoid the traffic travails of Denver or Los Angeles, we need to raise taxes to build new roads. The Tribune ignores the fact that Los Angeles has constant traffic problems because only new roads were built to alleviate transportation problems. Mass transit must be a part of long term planning. I'm not talking about the kind of "we're planning on doing it someday" talk that Davis County loves. The Wasatch Front needs to be considering the minimum number of roads they can build and the maximum amount of mass transit. This takes careful planning. The kind of planning I'm sure a number of large cities wish they could go back and redo. If we continue to fund transportation in the traditional manner, we will end up with a large Wasatch Front urban area (like L.A.) that has no more room for highways and is so disorganized that public transportation will be too expensive to execute properly. Then we will be living in permanent L.A. traffic and wishing we could go back to 2005 and do it all over again.

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