That was my initial reaction when I stumbled upon these quotes from Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md)…
We are in desperate need of significant transit improvements. We’ve got to have the facilities and we don’t today, and then we need the fare-box and economic policies that reward people for taking public transportation. Some try to say that it should be “self-sufficient” or have a certain percentage return through the fare-box. We don’t do that on our roads, and public transportation is much better for so many reasons — not just the environment or the quality of life. We should be providing much stronger incentives for people to use public transportation, but first you need to have the facilities.
I’m a big, big supporter of dramatic change in public transportation. It includes more than just the bus and rail systems in our urban areas. It includes a commuter rail and inner-city rail — the whole gamut of services that get people out of their personal vehicles. I don’t want people driving their personal vehicles the way they are today.
Isn’t it refreshing to hear leaders propose solutions to our energy crisis that don’t involve things like gas tax holidays (cough…gimmick…cough), windfall profits taxes (while oil majors only make a 10% profit), and the scapegoating of “speculators”?
If he would have had the cajones to say this around $2 gasoline, he would have been publicly strung up. I guess it’s ok to speak freely as a politician when your constituents are ready to burn you at the stake for letting gasoline creep up past $4. If there’s a silver lining to all of this pain folks are feeling, it’s that we tend to find real solutions when we’re in a crisis.
In related news — on June 26th, the U.S. House passed H.R. 6052: Saving Energy Through Public Transportation Act of 2008, which would provide $1.7 billion in grants for public transit over the next 2 years. Local Reps Pryce (D), Tiberi (R), Hobson (R), and Space (D) all voted Aye on the resolution. Gotta like the bipartisan love. Now it’s onto the Senate for a companion bill.