The Bush administration is planning to tackle U.S. traffic congestion.

In many areas of the country, traffic is a horrendous problem. Some days, it’s faster to walk down the freeway than it is to drive. At least, that’s what I hear. I’m lucky, since I live in a town that makes Mayberry look like New Jack City, so I don’t have to experience much traffic except when traveling around here.

When I read that the Bush administration had decided to do something about traffic congestion, my first thoughts were, “grant amnesty to cars already stuck in traffic jams?” – ”deploy the National Guard to ensure people merge properly during lane closures?” As it turns out, it’s a bit different than that.

Norman Y. Mineta, Transportation Secretary and the only guy I know with the middle initial “Y”, has a plan… sort of:

“Congestion is not a fact of life. We need a new approach and we need it now,” said Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta.

Five years ago, Mineta complained that “congestion and delay not only waste our time as individuals, they also burden our businesses and our entire economy.”

The transportation secretary unveiled a strategy to reduce congestion that included privatizing roads, putting tolls on busy roads and designating corridors for development to speed movement of truck and rail freight.

There are other, far simpler ways the government could help as well. How about not working on roads that don’t need fixing just to spend the money so as to avoid losing funding next year?

Earlier this year I drove by an area of the freeway that I drive often, and a lane was closed for a repair of some sort, and the road was just dandy the day before. Then up a mile or so there’s an exit ramp that’s like driving across a quarry, that hasn’t been touched in years.

Last year, that same stretch of highway had, at separate times, each lane shut down for new pavement. After that was completed, apparently they’d hired Patrick Kennedy to drive their equipment, because somebody botched the job putting down the rumble strips on the shoulder, and they ended up in the road. That lane had to be shut down again so they could pave over the goof.

Pardon my skepticism, but, on the whole, the government creates red tape and backups, so the odds that they’ll be able to eliminate the same as it concerns our roads are slim to none.


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