using discredited social engineering schemes
Local transportation planners today are expected to rubber stamp a proposal which would require you to pay $100 million in your tax money to build new lanes on US 281 that you would be forbidden to drive in, 1200 WOAI news reports.
The Advanced Transportation District says the money will be used to build lanes down the center of US 281 which would be used only for 'car pools' and busses, meaning the vast majority of taxpayers who paid for the lanes would not be allowed to ever drive in them.
"This is our daily life being hijacked by social engineers who want to tax us out of our cars," transportation activist Terri Hall said.
Supporters of the so called High Occupancy Vehicle lane plan concede that it is an effort at using tax dollars for social engineering, to attempt to convince more people to get out of their cars and take the bus. About 95% of all Bexar County commuters now drive to and from work alone in a car.
“Via and ATD can move forward with major projects to improve traffic flows and decrease congestion on some of our more heavily used highways, while improving the ride for the greater community,” said Keith Parker, the CEO of Via Metro Transit.
But the idea that creating mass transit lanes will convince motorists to take the bus is one of the most thoroughly discredited transportation ideas in the country.
"That has not worked anywhere it has been tried," Hall said. "It is an absolute outrage to charge us and to punish us if we drive in a single occupancy vehicle."
Even the University of California at Berkeley, one of the most liberal colleges in the country, had only negative things to say about the use of HOV lanes to convince motorists to get out of their cars.
A 2004 study by the University of California Berkeley concluded that when carpool lanes were constructed in the San Francisco Bay area, highway congestion actually increased on the other lanes, and ‘is getting worse every year.’
“The HOV system does not meet its goals,” engineering professor Pravin Variya concluded.
The study concluded that HOV lanes ‘do not motivate commuters to carpool.’
Researchers say that the only types of roads where the use of HOV lanes has had even a minor impact on commuting habits is on so called 'extreme commutes,' where motorists get onto a highway dozens of miles away from their destinations, and drive directly to work. But Hall points out that the vast majority of people who drive on US 281 are not commuters at all. They are moms driving their kids to school or driving to the big HEB. She says the idea that people will take the bus with a cart full of groceries is 'delusional.'
This is the second attempt to use ATD sales tax money for failed social engineering schemes. Money from the ATD is also being used to build the wildly unpopular downtown streetcar system, which opponents say will require millions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies annually.
Opponents say nobody would have supported the ATD sales tax increase, which was approved by voters in 2004, had supporters said the money would be used to build a streetcar, and to participate in a discredited scheme to try to get motorists to go to HEB on the bus.