transportation part 2

Our nation pays an equally high price in wasted natural resources. Several millions of barrels of oil are refined and pumped into Canada's 17 million cars and light trucks every week — then puffed into our air and atmosphere as toxics. Traffic pollution leads to premature deaths in our major cities: 1,400 victims in Toronto alone each year, according to the city's health authority.

Land resources are another casualty. Historians may marvel at how much fertile land we paved over just to store our cars. Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from major sources like cars and light trucks make global warming a more urgent crisis than the economic one. Tail pipe emissions are just the start of the problem — building roads, manufacturing cars, and extracting and refining oil resources like the tar sands also create massive amounts of GHGs.

There are alternatives.

Mass transit spreads the cost of buying and operating vehicles over more users. Unlike private cars, buses and streetcars don't sit idle while we shop. The professional drivers of transit vehicles keep us safer — accident rates per passenger- kilometer are a fraction of that of automobiles. Fewer vehicles on our roads means less congestion and less need for road space. Transit vehicles use far less fuel per passenger and therefore emit a fraction of the GHGs and other poisons of private automobiles. Re-directing some of the high individual spending on cars to public transit would produce a first class system — safe, fast, reliable, efficient and clean — and leave money in people's pockets.(albert koehl)

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