Letters to the Editor

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TRANSIT: We can’t just keep expanding highways

Letter by Tim Meagher, Fircrest on May 23, 2011 at 12:49 pm | 6 Comments »
May 23, 2011 1:58 pm

Re: “Use that federal rail money to build more I-5 capacity” (Viewpoint, 5-22).

I appreciate state Sens. Mike Carrell’s and Randi Becker’s concerns and acknowledge the increasing traffic morass around Joint Base Lewis-McChord. But I think a simple expansion of Interstate 5 is short-sighted.

America can’t just keep increasing highway capacity every time the roads get crowded. It promotes a continuing automotive dependence with consequences of increased petroleum consumption and pollution.

Not just pollution directly and indirectly from cars, but more cars need more pavement for driving and parking. That, in turn, reduces the amount of ground able to absorb water runoff, which then increases erosion and pollution.

A more comprehensive solution is to promote a system that reduces automotive dependence in general. Whether that is mostly by carrot or stick becomes the question. Pierce Transit’s reduction of services only contributes to the problem.

Mass transit needs to become more convenient, not less. Perhaps a larger portion of those federal dollars needs to go to transit districts. America’s insistence on the convenience of cars for our primary transportation keeps us captive to the politics of nations that control petroleum access.

 

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