The Presidential debates really haven’t been actual debates. More like who could out shout the other one. The Biden Ryan exchanges were more debate like than the Presidential ones. Having said that, what was bothersome during the debates was the total lack of discussion on all issues environmental, there was no real debate regarding America’s future to improve our environment and quality of living. One of my pet peeves is that we spend a lot time sitting in traffic on our way to work. Personally, I bike to work, but I know that at least in the Chicago land area the average commute time is 2 hours per day. (Of which I’m subject to it when I need to use a car.) Some of that is sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Two hours a day is a lot of time to be sitting in a car. That works out to roughly 510 hours a year sitting in traffic, or twenty-one days of your life. Chicago does have a fairly robust public transit system, but despite that system, long commute times are the norm. Basically our public policy has failed America in moving us around. Spending trillions of dollars on a road infrastructure has done little to alleviate commute times across these United States. Perhaps now is the time for our country to re-commit itself to improving our transit times, and the quality of life for all of us. Environmentally speaking, if we would spend the money we have spent the last 10 years in Iraq and Afghanistan, on the next ten years for public transportation, we could cut down our collective carbon footprint and reduce our travel times if we re-committed ourselves to high speed rail and urban transit systems that connected the burbs to our cities. High-speed rail investments would eliminate the need for car travel to cities, and linking our burbs to cities would ease congestion times for all of us, and reduce pollution as well. It may even go a long way to cutting our import oil bill too. If we’re not going to invest, then we need to raise tolls on inner city highways to reduce congestion, pollution, and to generally piss off enough people to harass their public officials to build a better transit system. Building a better pubic transit system across America would put people back to work, and improve the environment. Now why wouldn’t any of the Presidential candidates consider these options?
Photo Credit: John Vlahakis