| Schutze |

Why Dallas Doesn't Deserve Those Federal "Congestion Mitigation" Funds

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The New York Daily News is reporting that Dallas, among other cities, may be back in the running for fat “congestion mitigation” grants from the federalissimos, now that New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg has been knifed in Albany on his plan for congestion pricing in Manhattan.

If Dallas gets a nickel of that money, it’ll be a travesty, a tragedy, a treachery, a traducement, and … well, them's all the "tr" words I can think of.

Why? Because we are enormously undeserving. Uniquely undeserving, because of our recent vote to ruin a downtown river park by building a tolled truck route through downtown. In short, we are the congestion Whore of Babylon.

NYC stood to get the bulk of available grant money for Bloomberg’s plan to charge people eight bucks for driving into the most congested parts of Manhattan. The Daily News has been in high dudgeon since Monday, when New York Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver killed the mayor’s plan on grounds that it would discriminate against Democrats -- because they won’t have the eight bucks.

Now the paper is saying NYC’s misfortune may re-open the candy store for cities that got kicked out of the competition for this money originally. We never found out why Dallas was eliminated -- my fault, I know -- but I always assumed it was because of last year’s Trinity River toll road referendum, in which the city voted to sacrifice a riverfront and create new congestion downtown by routing a suburban bypass through the urban core.

I don’t see how we could win the prize for congestion mitigation. Maybe there’s a prize for Congestion Whore of Babylon. If so, I say we should go for it. Sorry. But look in the mirror. And put some clothes on, willya?

Meanwhile, nobody gets this stuff, not even The New York Times or its op-ed writers today, talking about how we should tax SUVs.

Congestion is the result of far deeper problems than SUVs: It springs directly from a totally skewed road-funding structure designed to lavishly subsidize 18-wheelers by enormously under-counting the damage they do to roads.

Want to cut congestion? Cut roads. Want to cut roads? Get the trucking industry off the federal tit. Want to get the trucking industry off the federal tit? Die and go to heaven.

Why do I open my mouth? --Jim Schutze

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