Thursday, September 21, 2006

California should look to itself on pollution


SO the State of California is wasting taxpayers’ money trying to sue car manufacturers (the most successful ones, not all of them) because it says “their” cars cause pollution that the state then has to clean up.
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What utter rubbish.
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For starters, the cars are not owned by the manufacturers, they are owned by the owners. You can buy a car and put it on display or drive it endlessly – the person responsible for the emissions from the car is the owner. However, those are little people and hitting little people isn’t popular with envy ridden socialists – far better to go for the companies offering little people the choice whether or not to buy their products.
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Secondly, what the hell is California doing to “clean up” the pollution anyway? What cost does it impose on the state? At worst, the costs of pollution are born by road users, pedestrians and those living near busy roads because of the health effects. So who is responsible for that? Well the road owner – the road owner has let emissions from his land cross to that of neighbouring properties.
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So who is really responsible? Well the State of California. It is responsible for the roads that the vehicles operate on, the roads that it funds and manages as a corrupt trough of pork. The State of California under invests in road maintenance, leaving rough surfaces that increase friction, increase fuel burn and increase pollution. The State of California drives spending on roads according to political priorities, so some roads that should be built don’t get built (leaving people in congestion), and others that shouldn’t be built, are built (meaning people are driving on roads they haven’t paid for). The State of California does not run its roads on user pays principles, so as a result, like a Soviet bread shop, there is chronic queuing at busy times, with only two privately built toll lane routes offering motorists an uncongested alternative.
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So the State of California ought to look at itself – it ought to take all of its highways and sell them off to a private concern, which would have the power to toll motorists and vary charges according to how busy or quiet the road was. The State should take other roads off of local councils, and remove politics from those decisions as well – those roads can be commercialised and privatised. It will be surprised about how much pollution and congestion will reduce.
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Will Rogers once said the way to end traffic congestion is to have the government built cars and the private sector build roads – all that is needed is for the latter!

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