Our transportation infrastructure relies too heavily on fossil fuels as well as too much on private vehicles which promote suburban sprawl and undermine compact livable, walkable, and bike-able cities and towns. Also, too often transportation policy decisions are made based on a myopic assessment of costs only to the public fund without considering the far more substantial costs which we all privately bear in our own household and business budgets.

Essentially, we face a choice in our transportation. We can embrace an unsustainable, very expensive, energy wasting, and  unhealthy private vehicle based transportation system. Alternatively we can return to an arrangement of small walkable and bike-able communities with compact communities and frequent and reliable mass transit connecting these communities together in an interconnecting web of spokes and hubs.

Our over-reliance on private vehicles also causes a greater social burden for all with longer commutes, greater traffic congestion, cumbersome pedestrian and bicycling  navigation, idle lifestyles and the resulting poor health and so forth. We also face over 30,000 vehicular fatalities each year and many other injuries which could be reduced substantially by reducing our dependent upon private vehicle transportation. Many activities such as texting, cell phone conversation, and even intoxication are much safer aboard mass transit vehicles but are deadly when conducted by drivers of private vehicles. Mass transit therefore not only makes us safer, but also makes us more productive as we are freed to do other things while in transit which are impossible and unsafe while driving.

In many ways these two transportation visions are at odds with one another. The more we accommodate private vehicles through sprawling cities and towns, the more cumbersome it is to provide transit service to these communities. However, the less transit service we provide to those communities, the worse traffic congestion becomes and the more we promote sprawl. On the other hand, the more transit service available the more we shift motorists out of their cars and onto much lower cost forms of transportation. More mass transit also means less roadway congestion.

Our transportation sector is also overly dependent upon petroleum products for fuel. By shifting transportation vehicles to electric operation we give our cities cleaner air for us to breathe, make the vehicles far more flexible in the energy sources they support and ultimately enable us to wean ourselves entirely from non-renewable and unsustainable energy sources.

I support:

  1. a holistic approach to transportation planning, development, maintenance, operation, and spending so that we consider the costs to consumers rather than merely the government spending
  2. federal gas and diesel tax increases to be invested in pedestrian, bicycling, and mass transit improvements (10 year program)
  3. a federal loan program to finance the upfront costs of plugin hybrid and other electric vehicles with an energy surcharge on the gradual electrical recharging over the life of the vehicle
  4. a moratorium on highway funding except for those ranked structurally deficient, functionally obsolete, or otherwise in urgent need of repair
  5. an interstate and international high-speed LGV/TGV/Shinkansen interstate rail network
  6. electrification, nationalization, upgrade, and expansion of all interstate freight railways
  7. full funding for an initial prototype Transrapid maglev train line such as the one proposed for Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  8. federal urban mass transit funding (upgrades, eliminating deferred maintenance, expansion and new lines)
  9. federal funding guidelines promoting a combination of fare supported mass transit with fuel tax supports with peak-period fares to reduce congestion and fund low-cost or even free off-peak transit
  10. federal guidelines to encourage improved roadway and traffic conditions for buses such as dedicated right-of-way, merging right-of-way for buses, and fines and photo enforcement for motorists failing to yield to merging buses
  11. mass transit electrification (including light rail, heavy rail, commuter rail, hybrid trolley buses, etc.)
  12. public democratic stewardship, proprietorship, and ownership of the transportation infrastructure and any commonly contentious and saturated services (such as high-speed passenger trains). All other the passenger and freight vehicles should be operated independently with equitable and transparent policies for fees, use, and peak-contention scheduling and other peak-contention rationing mechanisms.