Saturday, November 8, 2008
At home, Prop 1A to build the high-speed train from LA to SF has passed, as well as LA County Measure R, which would fund numerous transportation projects including significant expansions to the Metro train network. Measure T here in Santa Monica, which I thought to be misguided, has failed. So every endorsement I made for transportation went the way I had hoped for. I have to say I was especially surprised at the passage of Measure R, since any sales tax measure in CA requires a 2/3 majority. Here in Santa Monica, where transportation issues are on every one's minds, voters approved the measure by nearly 70%.
Numerous alternative transportation measures across the country also swept to victory as well. Suggesting that we may at last as a nation are waking up from our automobile dependent slumber. That doesn't mean our work is done. It will be important to play watch dog to ensure the money is spent well and progress is made efficiently and in our best interests.
In the case of the High-Speed Rail, the opponents of the project are already working to kill it before a single stretch of track gets laid as has been done to similar measures in Florida and Texas in the past. It will also be important to continue applying pressure to our leaders, both locally and at the federal level, to make all transportation issues a priority, not just highway lane expansions. I think we can start by actually counting the movement of people in our cities in studies, instead of the movement of typically single occupant automobiles. Cycling will never be taken seriously if we are not counted in the "success" of road ways.
We won some battles this week, but the war is far from over. I think war is fairly apt comparison here, when considering more Americans die on our roads in a two month period than have died in all Iraqi combat. This is the world we live in, and at the expense of sounding cliche now, it's time for change.