TRANSPORTATION PART 1

General Motors and Chrysler are facing some angry public criticism after pleading for and receiving billions of dollars in taxpayer aid. There's no need to be too hard on them. After all, auto corporations produce and promote products, and lobby legislators for an easier ride — that's their business. Our political leaders are the ones who (are supposed to) make (intelligent) transportation policy — that's supposed to be our (the public's) business.

Can we do better than perpetuating our grossly inefficient and expensive car-centred system for getting around? This is a good time to ask that question.

Helping Chrysler and GM produce cars won't produce car buyers.



The inefficiency of our transportation system starts at home. Every year, the average motorist forks over more than $10,000 in after tax income (the cost to own and operate a car) just to participate in the system. Next to a house, a car is usually the biggest investment a family will make. Unlike a house, a car sits empty 95 percent of the time, and depreciates right after being driven off the dealer's lot.

Communities are victims of a related waste of resources. The lives and health of citizens are squandered. The public purse is drained to build, maintain, and police roads. Since 1980, car crashes have claimed over one million lives in Canada and the US — and caused tens of millions of injuries and disabilities. Property damage from accidents in Canada costs billions of dollars each year. And, according to Transport Canada, traffic congestion carries a $3.7 billion annual price tag for our major cities.
ABOVE EXCERPT ALBERT KOEHL(ECO JUSTICE)

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