What is really safe?


The Amendment 7 propaganda in Missouri mirrors that from other states where similar debates over transportation funding are taking place. One of the cheap and easy arguments is over safety. I say "cheap and easy" because, not only it is an emotional one, but it plays to our base instincts. We all want to feel safe.

That is why ads like these work.

Keep families safe. Who can be against that? 

Our highway funding system is obsessed with ensuring that you CAN drive anywhere you want to with limited congestion and delay. We do not ponder -- not even as an afterthought -- what types of investments would give people the option to not HAVE to drive everywhere. 

For most Americans, driving is not a freedom. It is a requirement.

We can have a lot of conversation about what makes a transportation system safe -- and we have had that conversation here in multiple ways -- but few people ever talk about the safest option: reducing the amount people are forced to drive.

I mentioned this a couple years ago when talking about car seats. We obsess about whether a kid is buckeled up properly but nobody bothers to ask the simpler question: what are you doing driving your kids around so much? We don't question it because it is a given, the casualty rate that comes from that an accepted level of attrition.

Amendment 7 in Missouri is accompanied by a long list of projects that would be funded if it passes. Lots of road widenings and expansions. Yes, let's improve safety -- and if we were really serious about it, there are some fairly straightforward ways to do so -- but let's primarily focus on reducing the amount that people are FORCED to drive. 

Then there will be a lot fewer horrible accidents for these police officers to get called to.