By Dom Nozzi
The origins of meaningful transit in a community are largely based on motorist discontent. When motorists face high costs for driving or parking a car, or face traffic congestion, political will emerges to create ways to escape such travel pain: higher residential densities, mixed use, and better transit.
Better transit is almost never the result of foresighted planners, educated citizens or wise elected officials. Discontented motorists facing higher costs are the inducement.
Yes, there are certainly quite a large percentage of Americans who do not have good access to transit. Such an unfortunate circumstance is unsustainable. The inevitable adjustment to a transit-friendly, oil-scarce society will not be painless.
But it is clear that the sooner we create a nation rich in transportation choices, the less pain will be experienced.
We must therefore adopt effective policies and pricing that will more quickly induce the creation of transportation choices. I know of nothing that is anywhere near as equitable and effective as increasing the cost of driving a car.
This is one of the many reasons I support a much higher gas tax. I remain concerned, however, that increased gas tax revenue is likely to counterproductively be used to widen roads. Despite this, on balance I believe that a significantly higher gas tax must be established. And soon.