Dear Leader's answer is massive "investment" in mass transportation. More taxes, in other words. And more expensive gasoline and diesel.
Obama's transportation goals face several potential roadblocks.
The federal program that provides aid to states for highway construction and transit expenses expires on Sept. 30. The current program was funded at $286 billion over five years. Its cost is mainly underwritten by the federal 18.4 cents-per-gallon gas tax, but revenues have failed to keep up with obligations.
Last January, a blue-ribbon transportation commission recommended increasing the gas tax as much as 40 cents a gallon over five years. The additional money would help cover the federal share of an estimated $225 billion the commission says is needed each year to upgrade transportation systems.
Boosting the gas tax carries political risks. The last time it was raised, a backlash against Democrats in the 1994 elections helped Republicans capture control of the House and Senate. Obama has expressed concern about raising taxes in the current economic climate.
Even without an increase, Obama will have to deal with environmentalists who want to undo a bargain struck during the Reagan administration that funnels roughly 80 percent of gas tax revenue to highway projects and 15 percent to transit. They want to redirect money away from highways to alternatives such as transit and intercity passenger trains.
Leave it to a leftist to redirect the people's money away from its intended target. I would submit that the percentages above reflect the proportion of private to public transportation users. In other words, 15 per cent of people moving from point A to point B have their trip subsidized by the taxpayers.
Obama dreams of an inter-city high-speed rail system, the building of which would "create new jobs." The government cannot create new jobs, just new ways to burn up tax revenue.
In a similar vein, I would like to see at least one of the "Big 3" go bankrupt, and sell their manufacturing facilities to someone who, in addition to building big SUVs, will take passenger cars back to the glory days of the 50's and 60's. Not necessarily the style (think of the faggy looking new "Thunderbird") but the mind-set of large, heavy, and powerful. In addition, these cars would have an engine that could be maintained and repaired by the average owner with a little mechanical skill. But that would mean abandoning CAFE standards and all of the emissions equipment. Damn.
Curse you, catalytic converter!