ATI The Alliance for Traffic Improvement

Seeking cost effective ways to reduce traffic congestion on Oahu



The Left gets it Right: Here’s a few excerpts from “The Politics of Gridlock”

The Progressive Policy Institute, proponents of the ‘third way,’ have just released a 14-page critique of:  “… the congestion coalition (a small, but extremely influential anti-highway, anti-car, and anti-suburban coalition) has changed the focus of transportation policy from one expanding supply to one of restraining demand and getting people out of cars.” p. 117.

“The Politics of Gridlock” is written by Rob Atkinson, Vice President of PPI. He contrasts the dominance of the current anti-auto coalition with the 1968 Democratic Party Platform, which read: “still more superhighways are needed for safe and rapid motor transport.”

He says, “It would be easy to underestimate the influence of the anti-auto coalition. Through masterful use of rhetoric and oversimplified analysis, they have succeeded in dramatically influencing not just federal, state, and local polices, but the entire orientation of the transportation debate. Terms and phrases like “smart growth,” “increasing access to choices instead of building freeways,” and “sustainable, holistic solutions” sound great. Yet for much of the movement, these are code words that mask an anti-automobile, antihighway agenda.” p. 122.

“For this ‘third way’ to succeed, it will have to … focus on expanding the supply of transportation, including building and expanding roads, making the current system more efficient (including instituting pricing mechanisms and using intelligent transportation technology of all sorts).” p. 127.

“… with most Americans preferring single-family homes, and with new information technologies giving businesses more locational freedom, the old economy’s urban-centered system will never be revived. As a result, it makes no sense to have a transportation policy predicated on a view of the world that looks backward, not forward.” p. 127.

“The anti-road coalition has incorrectly diagnosed congestion as a problem of too many cars. Influential, but misguided analysts, like Brookings Institution’s Tony Down[s], author of Stuck in Traffic, and countless environmental advocates have led most Americans to incorrectly believe that infrastructure expansion will not reduce congestion. Moreover, the anti-supply forces actively oppose expansion of transportation infrastructure. Given this fierce opposition to the expansion of roads and highways, it is no wonder that transportation officials take the easy way out: adding HOV lanes, repairing roads and bridges instead of building new ones, improving the aesthetics of highways, etc. Progressives should define congestion as a problem of inadequate infrastructure. They should support an array of policies designed to give Americans the world-class transportation infrastructures they deserve, including public transit, biking and walking trails, and expanded and less congested roads.” p. 128.

For the full 14-page article, click here: “The Politics of Gridlock”