Americans Also Want the Jobs that Come with Freight

Green, Inc., the New York Times blog, interviews Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, delving into the Secretary’s recent pronouncement that federal policy would make no distinctions between motorized and non-motorized transportation. From “Q&A: Transportation Secretary on Biking, Walking and ‘What Americans Want’”:

Q. Bicycling and walking advocates had a very positive reaction to the policy change. But here at Green Inc., we heard mostly from critics who said it showed you were “delusional” or reflective of some sort of “Maoist” bent. What’s your response to the response?

A. My response is that this is what Americans want. Americans want alternatives. People are always going to drive cars. We’re always going to have highways. We’ve made a huge investment in our interstate highway system. We’ll always continue to make sure that those investments in the highways are maintained.

But, what Americans want is to get out of their cars, and get out of congestion, and have opportunities for more transit, more light rail, more buses, and some communities are going to street cars. But many communities want the opportunity on the weekends and during the week to have the chance to bike to work, to bike to the store, to spend time with their family on a bike.

So, this is not just Ray LaHood’s agenda, this is the American agenda that the American people want for alternatives to the automobile.

In the entire interview, there is not a single mention of “freight.” The words “truck” and “trucking” do not appear.

What Americans want right now is jobs, the creation of which requires the efficient movement of freight on trucks.  Secretary LaHood’s expressed vision of transportation priorities just doesn’t seem to recognize that economic reality.

P.S. Kudos to Green, Inc. for covering this issue. The Drudge Report linked to its previous story on March 26 with a headline, “War on Cars? Obama Transportation Sec.: ‘This is the end of favoring motorized transportation’…,” certainly driving a lot of traffic to Shopfloor’s coverage of the issue, as well.

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