Thursday, June 26, 2008

Encouraging Public Transportation - Walberg Votes No

Tim Walberg says we need to drill for more oil. That's the central theme of his energy plan. But he says he wants more than just drilling for oil. For instance, there's this press release from June 5th:
Congressman Walberg has co-sponsored legislation to provide incentives for solar, wind, cellulosic ethanol, bio-diesel and energy conservation. He also supports an increase in domestic energy production through carbon-free nuclear power and clean-coal technology. He has co-sponsored legislation that would encourage conservation with tax credits for green buildings and legislation that would spark a revolution in clean hydrogen technology.
(Emphasis added.)

Did you catch that? He didn't put too much emphasis on it, but it was there. Tim Walberg says he supports energy conservation, too.

And really, that makes sense. We can't conserve our way out of the energy crisis. We're pretty much always going to have increased energy needs. But if we could use a little less in certain areas of our lives, it would go a long way. What if we used energy-efficient appliances? What if we turned off the lights in a room when we weren't in it? What if, dare I say it, people drove a little less?

Many cities offer a way to drive less: public transportation. And as anyone who's visited Chicago or New York can tell you, it really can be convenient. Sure, it's not always clean or quick, but you can get from Kenosha, Wisconsin to South Bend, Indiana using Chicago's public transportation system for a relatively low cost, and certainly less than what it would cost in gasoline and without the rough Chicago traffic. (Chicago-native Tim Walberg should already know this.)

So one would think Congressman Tim Walberg-- a man who I once heard call himself an environmentalist, a representative who's pushing a new energy plan-- would be interested in encouraging this. As a nation, we could save a lot of money if the folks in cities just drove less. There would be more gasoline available for those of us who live in places where public transportation isn't practical. And in the places that really could benefit from public transportation-- say, Ann Arbor or Battle Creek-- maybe a little extra help from the federal government might be nice.

Today, June 26, 2008, the House of Representatives took up HR 6052, the Saving Energy Through Public Transportation Act of 2008. The bill (which notes that public transportation saves 11 million gallons of gasoline each day) would cost every American just one dollar every year for four years.

HR 6052 passed by a vote of 322 to 98. That's just 23 percent of the House of Representatives voting "no," with 91 Republicans joining a united Democratic majority.

Congressman Tim Walberg voted No.

Congressman Walberg, I know that it's government spending and all, but... come on! This would save energy and it wouldn't cost much! This is an obvious complement to your "more drilling" strategy. You could do both. Maybe, if the public transportation part works, we won't even have to drill as much!

But then, Congressman Walberg never was interested in real solutions, was he?

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