As usual, a member of the “younger generation” has a bit of a spoiled brat perspective.
First, my parents did not build the current transportation network. By the time it got going good in the 1960’s, they were well beyond paying heavy taxes. I, however, have been paying 1% of my annual purchases to MARTA since its inception, along with the state and federal gasoline taxes that have built the transportation network. I feel little or no obligation to subsidize the next generation’s lifestyle preferences. If the younger generation wants to live a different lifestyle, it’s fine with me as long as they pay for it.
We have a situation in Atlanta that is a very difficult problem to solve. Literally millions of us have made personal lifestyle decisions: we prefer to live in suburbs - or farms - or lakes, even if those locations mean a long commute. In the 20 years I have lived in Roswell I have had a number of jobs in different locations, but I love where I live and have chosen not to move each time.
For transportation designers (and politicians), the issue is whether to accommodate existing origin-destination demand or try to change it. Because accommodating it is a big-dollar problem, they are trying to change it by making it progressively more uncomfortable and expensive to make our commutes (see HOT lanes, etc.), and by not adding any new capacity except high-cost transit.
There are no simple solutions, only key decisions about whose priorities we are going to meet. If we like our lifestyles and want to continue them, we need to pressure the politicians to shift direction and stop trying to change behaviors. Sympathy is not an objective. Rational transportation design that meets the needs and wants of the population is the objective.
Either way, one group should not be forced to subsidize the other. Transit riders should pay for transit. Road users should pay for roads.
As for only thinking about ourselves, the spoiled brat author and member of the most-dependent generation in history might do a little research about how this country – and this city – were actually built. To have a viewpoint that we all should subsidize your desired lifestyle is selfish in the extreme. We have earned and paid our lifestyle and we enjoy it. You should do the same.
It's thinking like Mark above that keeps the country from ever solving its problems.
The core of the difference is based in whether or not the government should be the source of solving all of life's difficulties. No one "want(s) the entire population to be homeless..." or wants to "kick public school teachers out of the middle class..". This kind of demagoguery is what keeps us from ever solving real problems.
If you follow the interaction between Gov. Christie in NJ and the state's teachers union you can get a clear idea of the problem. There is a definite limit to how much government can give away, and we have pushed well past it. Rollback is definitely needed.
Creative Loafing Atlanta
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