Conservatives for Alternatives?

With the sea change in Washington, is all hope lost for alternatives? As of today, the GOP plans to eliminate the committee overseeing climate change. Who knows what is next?

Via Sean Barry with Transportation for America, this month’s American Conservative magazine article promotes alternatives to automobiles featuring various special authors including William Lind. Lind, featured in the article “Rail against the Machine – What’s so conservative about federal highways?” recently released a book in collaboration with Paul Weyrich titled, “Moving Minds: Conservatives and Public Transportation.” Lind reaches the pith of the matter stating “there is nothing inherently conservative about favoring highways — and nothing un-conservative about alternatives to the automobile,” and Barry adds “pointing out that 100 years ago, Americans relied on a variety of systems, including intercity trains and streetcars, all of which were privately owned and free of government support.” He feels it is wise to diversify our transit portfolio, giving people options and creating transportation infrastructure that requires less government support.

Also, Lind makes the compelling statement that “traffic isn’t fun, even if you are driving a BMW.” Time is money and commuting by rail allows one to check e-mails, read the paper or relax – all things not possible behind the wheel. Lind, citing Russell Kirk, finds value in prudence, and if faced with another cut to our oil supply like in 1973 or 1979, establishing transportation policy to excite alternatives would be wise. Lind offers a few prescriptions, one to revive the dilapidated network of trains and buses, he also envisions the resurgence of bus and urban streetcars.

-Jacquelyn Renée Schneider

© 2010 Sustainable Investment Group (SIG). All Rights Reserved.