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A Modest Proposal: Stop Subsidizing Driving

Joe Cortright argues for a new approach to the discussion about the country's dependence on automobiles: talk about responsibility, not morals.
February 22, 2017, 8am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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San Francisco

Joe Cortight suggests that there is a problem with the framework by which transit boosters, cyclists, planners, environmentalists, and safety advocates talk about cars:

…the problem is not that cars (or the people who drive them) are evil, but that we use them too much, and in dangerous ways. And that’s because we’ve put in place incentives and infrastructure that encourage, or even require, us to do so.

Faced with the question of how to reduce the negative impacts of driving, by reducing driving, the advocates listed above are locked in a political battle that is often contentious.

"Bitter and acrimonious flamewars between people who are convinced that one side or the other is trying to run us off the road will surely be unproductive," writes Cortright. Thus, he suggests a new way to argue in favor of reforms:

This isn’t about creating a “disincentive for car use,” but, as a matter of fairness and practicality, dropping what have essentially been subsidies for financially and socially expensive and dangerous behavior.

Full Story:
Published on Thursday, February 16, 2017 in City Observatory
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