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Opinion: Yes, Tom Foley, state government should get people out of their cars

Susan Bigelow
Susan Bigelow

Susan Bigelow is an award-winning columnist and the founder of CTLocalPolitics. She lives in Enfield with her wife and their cats.

At a recent transportation forum, gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley suggested that it shouldn’t be the role of state government to “push people out of their cars” and onto alternative modes of transit. He’s wrong. For all kinds of reasons, and in all kinds of ways, encouraging people to drive less ought to be a high priority of state government.

Let me say right off the bat that I love my car. I love cars in general. I drive a tiny blue hatchback which is nimble, fun, great for zipping around the largely traffic-free roads around where I live, and very me. But just because I love driving doesn’t mean that it’s always the right way to go, or that it’s always the best option.

There’s a lot of good reasons to get people out of cars, but let’s start with the obvious one: they cost us an awful lot of money. The state’s transportation infrastructure, which is heavily skewed toward roads, highways, and bridges, is in extremely poor shape, and the special transportation fund — which keeps being raided by the legislature — is unable to keep up with demand. This means the roads are constantly in need of repair. According to a study by TRIP, a nonprofit transportation study group, traveling on bad roads costs Connecticut motorists $1.6 billion per year, or $661 per motorist, in extra maintenance and operating costs. Layer on top of that the extra costs associated with owning a car and paying for fuel, as well as the general costs of maintaining and clearing the roads, and suddenly cars are an expensive prospect.

See the complete story at CT News Junkie.

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