Death PenaltySocial Issues Taxes
Yes, traffic sucks. We all like to complain about it. In my hometown of Bothell, we are still trying to figure out how, after replacing the carpool lane with 2 toll lanes, I-405 is suddenly backed up even at random times on the weekend.
It is easy to suggest we should all take the bus. As a treehugger, I would like to. But sometimes it is not just practical, especially when ferrying children back and forth to school.
I would like to believe that carpool lanes provide an incentive to carpool and that such lanes provide environmental value. But I am not sure they do. I would be willing to study the issue to determine whether having the vast majority of cars sitting in backups and spewing out pollution (and wasting our lives) is truly better than just dropping the carpool lanes entirely. (Full disclosure: I love the carpool and even toll lanes because I often have my kids with me!)
I do believe in funding public transit, including buses and light rail. They can significantly reduce congestion and are much less expensive to fund than wider highways. (Note to self: avoid climate change argument here.)
Any solution obviously costs money and clearly transportation is under-funded, just like everything else in this state. (We have more residents travelling on the roads, yet less money to pay for them. Good luck figuring out that math!) To solve this, we may need to look at raising gasoline taxes and/or moving toward taxing vehicles based on mileage, especially as more electric vehicles are sold.
Yes, I know we all hate taxes. But if paying a few more cents at the pump means we all sit in traffic less, that would seem to make a lot of sense. (Second note to self: avoid logical arguments whenever discussing taxes.)
On a side note, if we increase funding for education and can fill more jobs with homegrown talent, companies will need to recruit fewer people from other states and countries. Fewer people mean less traffic!