Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Bad spending = bad air

Out West we like to think that our big open spaces insulate us from the need for effective environmental protections. To some extent, that's true in a lot of places, as the 500 miles of desert and mountains between major Western cities allows us to dump our crud into the environment without alot of immediate consequences.

Unfortunately, that's not the case along the Wasatch Front. Our water ends up in a dead sea that, when embedded in an exposed lakebed, conjures up dust clouds full of mercury and other toxic shit that finds its way into our modest rivers and streams. What we put into our air is often shoved in our faces and down our lungs as the mountains around us hold our air in the valley and, as they are older and wiser than us, seemingly seek to make us immediately realize the consequences of our collectively crapping into the air.

What a coinkydink, then, in the same day the Tribune publishes one article about a medium-city's failure to comply with EPA air standards, another one shows up about Senate leadership poised to build more roads. It appears that the gentlemen in the Senate are not listening to what the mountains are telling us. More roads equals more particulates.

For those that think that clean air is just a bone-headed hippie rallying cry, chew on this: roads are more expensive and less efficient than transit. So Lyle Hillyard has a constituent that wants "freeway to drive on." Does he really feel that this "family state" should spend its money on a damn freeway - which just generates its own traffic anyway due to its inducement of land development - rather than making sure that its children/elders/health-deficient can go outdoors on certain days?

Roads are expensive and they are bad for your health. So why is a cash-strapped state government, with a modest growth rate, pedal-to-the-metaling on their construction?


Blogger CapitalCarnage said...

Modest growth rate? Utah is the 5th fastest growing state in the nation, according to the census bureau.

9:50 AM  
Blogger Ethan said...

I think it's a combination of things.

But one thing I read a while ago still sticks out in my mine. A man from the area (U.C.?) argued against public transit because it was "socialist".

Some people feel they have an inalienable right to as many roads as possible. In other words, because we have the right to own a car, it is the government's responsibility to build as many roads as can possibly be built.

10:56 PM  
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