The Leftists of the world think that humans are destroying the planet. They firmly believe that human-generated “greenhouse gases” have been causing the climate to get warmer for decades, and they believe that, unless the world essentially ceases to emit such gases from activities such as driving cars and trucks fueled by gasoline, and heating homes with natural gas and “fossil-fuel”-generated electricity, the planet will simply become too warm to support life.
To reduce the greenhouse-gas emissions, they have enacted policies that make such activities much more expensive, such as banning drilling for oil and gas on public lands; subsidizing electric cars so more people will buy them; enacting laws that will ban the manufacture or sale of gas-powered cars; requiring cars, trucks, large ships, and railroads to use “cleaner”, more-expensive fuel; enacting cap-and-trade schemes so big emitter must buy “credits” that allow them to emit, and urging people to give up their cars and take public transportation everywhere.
The above photo, taken two days ago near my home, is one of the intended effects of the environmentalist movement. The proximate cause is the war that Russia is waging against their neighbor, Ukraine. The current occupant of the White House is a tool of the Leftist environmental movement, and is perfectly happy to see those gas prices. See Barack Obama saying that “energy prices will necessarily skyrocket”.
But a couple of effects of those policies are causing some big headaches. One is the actual adoption by many Americans of electric cars. Especially in states like California and Washington, thousands of new electric cars are on the roads. Now, the battery in an electric car is quite heavy, and electric cars are about the same total weight as gas-powered ones, which means that they cause similar wear and tear on the highways. However, those electric car owners are NOT paying gas taxes, which are supposed to pay for road maintenance! So, the rich leftists driving around in their Teslas pay less for fuel, and zero for road maintenance. That is causing some state highway departments some headaches, which will probably end up causing everyone to pay higher taxes.
The second issue is the leftist-caused Covid Hysteria of the last two-plus years. Since early 2020, the leftist Health Nazis have been impressing upon the entire population of America that they should live in abject fear of all of their fellow Americans. They have had drummed into them that ALL other people are a threat to them, possibly causing them to get infected with the Deadly CCP Virus and die. For over two years, those who could work from home, have been doing so, and many of them want to continue to do so, even when the government loosens their chains. So, with more workers working from home, and fewer workers commuting to their jobs on buses, trains, and subways, the public transit agencies all over America have been seeing much lower ridership.
Just yesterday in the Wall Street Journal, there was an article entitled “Commuter Rail Girds for Long-Term Falloff”. Yes, those leftist policies which convince Americans that all their fellows are dangerous to them, have caused their favorite Public Transportation to lose ridership, possibly forever.
Caltrain, whose commuter trains link San Francisco with Silicon Valley, said in January that a sustained ridership decline “poses a severe financial challenge to the viability of the railroad’s business model.” Caltrain said fare revenue historically covered nearly 70% of operating costs.
The most recently reported weekday passenger counts at the nation’s five largest systems ranged between 25% and 55% of pre-pandemic levels…
Gee, you don’t say! Well, with fewer people riding, but no reduction in maintenance costs, that money will have to be made up somewhere. Higher fares and higher taxes are in their future. So going forward it might just be a little harder for the environmentalists to convince people to give up their self-enclosed vehicles and take a bus or train with all those other infectious strangers.
Closer to home, Sound Transit is in the middle of a huge light-rail building project, with people all over the Puget Sound area paying a variety of taxes to build a (100-year-old technology) mass transit system that will probably never carry anywhere near enough riders to pay even partially for itself. The system officials have already communicated that the budget will not cover the increased costs, and the schedule will have to be more drawn-out. We can also see higher taxes to pay for this big boondoggle in our future. The King County Metro bus system has also curtailed schedules due to vastly decreased ridership, as has the state ferry system.
The delusions of the leftist environmentalist movement have caused pain and suffering for the peons, while the elites continue to drive their limos and fly their private jets to environmental conferences all over the (man-made warming) planet. Every environmentalist should have to give up his private car now, and take that public transit they wish on us.