Coastal Sense

Bikes Belong by drewwade
June 17, 2008, 1:20 pm
Filed under: Energy, National Politics, transportation

This post was written by Drew Wade.

We’ll see if this materializes, but the Senator from Illinois has been doing a lot of talking about bicycles. A far cry from what some in the other party have said in the last year, Obama seems to get it about bikes. In fact, he has already met with the board of Bikes Belong, the major industry group for bicycle promotion, promising increased funding for bike and pedestrian projects if elected. What’s more impressive, in the recent picture of him riding a bike with kids in tow, he wears a helmet despite knowing that it makes him look like Urkel.

These recent developments remind me of this May cartoon when the other candidates were talking about a gas tax holiday, which as I mentioned here before, every economist and most of America saw through as a foolish waste of money which would actually be counterproductive.

Not only that, but he has suggested making rail transportation a priority, suggesting a National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank and thus sounding like someone who understands that fixing our transportation issues is going to take a lot more than asphalt. Time will tell if America cares, and if so, if he can follow through.


Loosen your belt, America! by drewwade
May 1, 2008, 10:55 am
Filed under: Energy, National Politics, transportation

This post was written by Drew Wade.

Well, it was inevitable. The campaign that would never end stretches on and politicians are eager to offer soundbite solutions. The topic du jour, of course, is the soaring price of oil and gas.

McCain and Clinton, of course, have it exactly wrong as also pointed out much more eloquently in this NY Times editorial. Our country is facing economically trying times, partly brought on by outrageous loan practices (followed by a corporate welfare style government bailout, likely with more to come) and partly by decades of woefully inept mismanagement of land use, transportation, and automobile production policies.

The solution should be long term — dropping the federal gas tax only increases the demand and puts money in Exxon’s pocket. Better funding for transit, improved MPG standards, and making roads safe for bicycles and pedestrians would make a real long term dent in the problem. Stopping the gas tax for the summer would increase the deficit, provide indirect corporate welfare, and give minimal if any real benefit to the consumer.

It’s all too telling of our current policies. When faced with adversity, we say, make it easier! Traffic got you down? Widen the road! Economy tanking? Lower interest rates! Getting fat? Loosen your belt! Trying to fix the economy and our current oil dependence in this way would be like handing out cocaine to fix the healthcare system.

UPDATE:  No credible economist thinks the gas tax holiday makes sense.  In fact,

Henry Aaron from Brookings, managed to very quickly whip up a list of 150 economists opposed to the gas tax holiday. And there are some pretty impressive folks on the list, from across the political spectrum.

Murphy Elected Young Republican National Committeeman by clintmurphy

Clint Murphy, a Savannah REALTOR and long time supporter of the Republican Party was recently elected as the Georgia Young Republican National Committeeman in a special election.

Murphy has been involved for a number of years in the Republican Party in Georgia, as well as in Washington, DC and in Iowa.  Murphy got his first taste of politics in 1990 as a young volunteer for Johnny Isakson in his campaign for Governor.  Murphy credits that as being the spark that started his interest in getting involved with Republican politics. 

Murphy’s first job out of college was on the staff of the late US Senator Paul D. Coverdell.  He went on to work as a fundraiser at the National Republican Congressional Committee, serve in the Bush Administration, run a Congressional Campaign, and work in Iowa during the 2002 elections. 

In 2003, Murphy returned to Savannah to begin his career in real estate.  When Johnny Isakson announced for the Senate seat, Murphy signed up to co-chair his campaign in Savannah.  Murphy was an early supporter of Casey Cagle in his campaign to become the first Republican elected to the office of Lt. Governor and helped lead the campaign on the coast. 

Presently, Clint Murphy is on the Georgia Advisory Committee for John McCain for President and serves as Vice Chairman of the Savannah Young Republicans.  Murphy serves as Chairman of the Chatham County Urban Transportation Citizens Advisory Committee and in 2007 ran unsuccessfully for the Savannah City Council. 

In his spare time, Clint likes to bike and is involved with the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life and the American Diabetes Association’s Kiss a Pig competition. 

Who pays for the roads? by drewwade
November 29, 2007, 10:34 pm
Filed under: Local Politics, National Politics, transportation | Tags: , ,

As someone who rides around the roads on his bicycle (a practice sanctioned by our legal system), I am sometimes faced with irritable attitudes from drivers who believe that their tonnage entitles them to ALL of the road, including my little 2 feet by the shoulder. The argument goes, “Well, I pay for my tag and I pay tax on gas to support the roads. You on your bike do nothing to pay for the road, and so you have no right to it.” The law states otherwise, though law enforcement in my experience tends to support the previous argument.

Well, someone actually studied whether tag and gas taxes pay for the roads. In fact, this study concludes, after examination of the direct and indirect costs of road building and maintenance, gasoline taxes would need to be increased by 20 to 70 cents per gallon for the roads to be a self sustaining venture. And so, in fact your and my property and income taxes pay a significant component of this infrastructure, to say nothing of my own automobile and gas taxes, since I too have a car and drive it.

So when folks in our government throw darts at even small measures designed to increase a low impact road use such as bicycling (and our own representatives vote nay on the same), it burns me up. However, we can get on the bandwagon here in Savannah and become a Bicycle Friendly Community, allowing us to become healthier individually and achieve greater connection to our community.  The economic benefits are real too, for if we make these quality of life improvements, we become a more attractive destination for businesses and individuals.

Iraq by clintmurphy
November 26, 2007, 10:06 pm
Filed under: National Politics

This is the question that will be asked and must be answered of every Federal candidate for office in 2008:

Do you support a permanent US presence in Iraq?  The steps are being taken to establish such a permanent presence. 

It’s a complicated issue, but has a very simple yes or no answer. 

Perot Voters Making a Comeback? by clintmurphy
November 24, 2007, 8:30 pm
Filed under: National Politics

This story on the website got me to thinking about the upcoming 2008 election and what affect a third party or even a possible fourth party will have on the outcomes. 

There is growing unrest in the electorate right now because the status quo is failing America, especially in Congress. 

Can we begin to move to a post-partisan agenda where we can begin to address the REAL issues that face our country or are we going to continue to be narrowly focused on singularly divisive issues driven by special interests? 

As an original Perot 1992 voter, I was optimistic to watch the Republicans in 1994 embrace the mantel of reform only to fall to the special interests years later.  Now, reform minded Democrats who just took power are going down the same path. 

Are either party capable of reform or are they too far along and entrenched in the status quo and special interests to break away? 

I consider myself a Republican because that has traditionally been the party of individual empowerment; however as of late, the Republicans seem to be on the way to becoming the party of corporations and special interests at the expense of the individual.