I wrote my congressperson, naïvely thinking that a "Washington outsider" Democratic representative would be open to any options which led to a greater fuel economy (higher passenger miles per gallon) and less energy usage. My proposal: expand creation of HOV lanes, basically mandating 1 HOV anywhere that at least 3 lanes of limited-access highway existed. The response:
Thank you for contacting me with your support for carpooling and high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes. I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.
As you may know, states have jurisdiction over the highways within their borders. They also have the authority to determine the placement and availability of HOV lanes. As a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, I do not have the authority to require Kentucky to establish HOV lanes in the state. I encourage you, however, to contact the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet at 502-564-4890 or KYTC.Comments@ky.gov.
...the "not my department" excuse. Of course, this was never a problem for the Federal government when the speed limit was reduced to 55 MPH, making the limit a condition for receiving Federal highway funds. When the Federal government needs to pressure a state to adhere to a national standard, it can vote with its checkbook.
So why isn't carpooling part of the solution?
- It reduces overall wear and tear on all vehicles. (Less consumption of vehicles?)
- It reduces overall fuel consumption (Hence there would be no "oil interest" support.)
- It reduces the urgency to completely dump fossil fuels (Hence no "green interest" or "alternative energy interest" support.) We know the "oil interest" voter roll and their investments; dare we look at who is making poor decisions for the country based on their own investments in green energy? Look what happened with ethanol.
- The average person would have to work out the logistics, which might cost a couple of swing votes.