Right Sizing Government
|Letter in Microsoft Word Format|
March 6, 2001
Letter to the Editor
The Denver Post
Denver, Colorado 80202
Thank you for the front page coverage on Monday, March 5, regarding the Governor, the Democrat majority, and filtering bills. Thank you also for mentioning a bill I had initiated regarding positive (driving) points.
Frankly, the headline selected vastly over-simplified things. When is a bill "wacky" that seeks to alleviate traffic problems now and in the future along the Front Range?
The Post, the editor, and the writer, should ask themselves, are people well served by leaving a cursory overview, and minimal public debate? Or, I would suggest a higher level of investigative journalism -- why was the bill killed in the Policy Committee in 30 minutes? It was full of creative ideas which I will outline below. The writer of the article had been given a 20 minute overview of the bill.
The bill was full of information and incentives. The article was factually inaccurate where it stated, "requiring law-enforcement to stop motorists" with positive points. It did not require it, only authorized it. So often government is viewed as negative, especially with "racial profiling" making its way through the Legislature, that from years of a business and sales background, I simply wanted to offer positive incentives for good behavior on the road. It also gave law-
enforcement a very strong tool for aggressive driving where people behave as if their car is a weapon.
Senate Bill 23 also had other provisions:
a) It offered private for-profit car/van pooling for the citizens. This provision did not affect professional drivers or their organizations, it only allowed people to operate their own vehicles from neighborhood to work -- on a personal basis -- and said they would not be breaking the PUC regulations. Is it not good public policy, and bipartisan, to have less cars, less energy consumed, less pollution, and certainly wanting to alleviate traffic as we build and rebuild our roads?
b) It strengthened left lane traffic impedance whether aggressively or passively.
c) As an incentive to employers and employees it required hourly collection of traffic counts. The positive incentive was an employer may receive a longer workday, and employees save eight hours per week on the road, by adjusting work schedules voluntarily to four-day staggered work weeks. The thought was to inform citizens where and when the backups were -- juggle their daily and weekly work schedules -- to benefit both the employer and employee.
d) How many citizens, in driving throughout the state in their work, have been totally stopped on a freeway just to find only one of the lanes involved in work, a couple of trucks parked in a lane, and yet three lanes compressed into one? This bill tried to work with CDOT to address that.
e) It also required consultants to garner ideas from other states regarding building roads on diminished right-of-ways, and creative highway design.
The purpose of this letter is not to attack the writer, or defend me, but rather to introduce these ideas to the world of public policy so that solutions can be hammered out and we will have better traffic flow. Call it TEA for short, TRAFFIC EFFICIENCY ACT. Your publication of this letter contributes to that public policy dialog. Thank you.
Bruce E. Cairns