Americans are Working to Feed Their Cars

Via TreeHugger:
James Schwartz writes The Urban Country ” to show that using a bicycle for transportation is fast, fun and healthy & improves our cities, our people and the world.” He also occasionally writes about how using a car for transportation is slow, annoying, polluting and destroys our cities, our people and the world. Case in point: his post Americans Work 2 Hours Each Day To Pay For Their Cars.

James writes:

Imagine you could work 500 hours less every year. That works out to be an extra 12.5 weeks of vacation. Alternatively, imagine you got paid for an extra 500 hours of work each year, without having to work those extra 500 hours. That would work out to be an extra $11,000 every year for an average American making $22 per hour.

500 hours a year – or 2 hours each day – is roughly the equivalent to what the average American worker will work in order to pay for their cars (the average is between 1.46 hour/day and 2.22 hours/day depending on which data is used).

All of this is particularly enraging after the outright blockade of high-speed rail funds that Republican Governors have presided over.  Indeed, billions of dollars in government grants towards making our transportation network more diverse, clean and efficient have been halted.  Luckily, other states have stepped up to the plate, requesting the funds that shortsighted Governors rejected.

Via AP:
Amtrak and rail projects in 15 states are being awarded the $2 billion that Florida lost after the governor canceled plans for high-speed train service, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Monday.

The largest share of the money – nearly $800 million – will be used to upgrade train speeds from 135 mph to 160 mph on critical segments of the heavily traveled Northeast Corridor, LaHood said at a news conference in New York’s Pennsylvania Station, the nation’s busiest train depot.

The projects should also improve the reliability of other commuter lines, such as New Jersey Transit and the Long Island Rail Road, by improving electrical lines on shared sections of track and allowing Amtrak trains to bypass a major junction in New York City, LaHood said.

Officials in the New York area had lobbied heavily for the money, noting that the stretch between Washington and Boston is the country’s most-traveled rail corridor.

So indeed, a great deal of people get it, and understand our critical need to move away from a solely car-dependent society, and diversify with rail, bicycle infrastructure and other mass transit options. As much as Americans like to thump their chests and express their feelings of superiority, we are woefully, embarrassingly behind, when it comes to transportation for our country.   Take a look at this Japanese MagLev testing it’s might, at 581 KPH!

Needless to say, we have our work cut out for us.