Friday, May 9, 2014

I-345 vs US-75: Commute Times

Previously: "I-345 vs US-75: Daytime Employment."
Previously: "I-345 vs US-75: Same Standard."

Rodger Jones of The Dallas Morning News offers his solutions to north Texas' traffic woes. Jones wants US-75 through Richardson to get "three added pay lanes in each direction, sunken, with sound walls." To pay for this, he thinks "We should raise the gas tax and pay as we go. I know, fat chance."

After the jump, my reaction.

Why does Jones want this? It seems to come down to mainly one thing: commute times.
What if I said McKinney and Allen people should find another way than US 75 through Richardson to get to Dallas? What if I told my daughter that?
If they are doing that on a daily basis, I'd tell 'em, sorry, but there's a price to be paid for such life choices. In my opinion, prioritizing subsidies for daily commuters who want to drive 30 miles each way through a populated area is, at least, misguided.

I know this is Texas. I know the myths. The Texas economy will ride high on oil and gas forever. Climate change is a hoax. We should be able to drive anywhere we want at 80 miles an hour. And we will be able to no matter how much we sprawl over north Texas if only we build enough freeways. I know those myths are why Jones says there's only a "fat chance" that the Texas will ever approve an increase in the gas tax that comes close to covering the costs of freeway construction, to say nothing of the costs of the negative externalities produced by burning all that gas.

But just because many people believe in the myths, that's not a good argument for building more and more freeways. The longer we put off the inevitable, that is, the need to deal with the real costs of our sprawling development in north Texas, the higher our ultimate costs will be.

Maybe Rodger Jones can't face telling his daughter the truth, but he's doing her no favors by keeping the truth from her. It's time to quit subsidizing people who want to live in McKinney and work in downtown Dallas. There is a better way. Best of all, long-term sustainable development practices also help control those rising commute times.

1 comment:

Mark Steger said...

"In a 2007 paper, Ian Parry, Margaret Walls, and Winston Harrington found that the overall social cost (including road congestion, highway deaths, and global warming) of burning a gallon of gasoline is about $2.10."
-- "It's time to raise the gas tax" by Matthew Yglesias