More Western leaders call for an end to private vehicle ownership


If there is something that makes my stomach ache, it is the government talking about the merits of reducing people’s ability to own things. Fortunately, the 36 hour flu I just experienced made me almost invulnerable and someone had brought me the latest news on what UK Parliamentary Under Secretary to the Department of Transport Trudy Harrison had to say about possession of a personal vehicle. She is very attached to the common sweating but not so much interested in the fact that the plebeian masses have access to their own individual modes of transport.

Earlier this month, she told a virtual audience at the CoMoUK shared transport charity that the UK needs to move away from “20th century thinking centered on private vehicle ownership and towards a more great flexibility, with personal choice and low carbon shared transport ”.

Although the question is hardly confined to the UK. In the United States, the board of directors of the San Diego Association of Government recently passed its annual regional transportation plan which originally included a provision charging drivers for literally every mile driven. It’s a bit like the fuel tax, only worse because it applies at an additional 4 cents per mile whether you burn liquid fuel or source it from the grid using a vehicle. electric.

Fortunately, this particular item received enough opposition to be removed from the plan. However, the board has hinted that it wants to revisit the article at a later date because it believes the premise of its existence is to create a 30-year plan that encourages the region (encompassing 18 California cities). to move away from the ownership of a personal vehicle. as a means of improving public transport and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Although she never weighed in on it, we assume the UK Transport Minister agrees.

“Changing the way people view car ownership and addiction will take time,” Harrison said at the CoMoUK conference. “A lot of things seem wacky until they aren’t and I think the same goes for shared mobility. “

I only know Minister Trudy Harrison’s position thanks to motor’ Steven Symes, who has followed the issue and also linked the British plot to what is happening on the West Coast of the United States:

If you think this plan is limited to the UK, you haven’t paid attention. There have been other efforts to make private vehicle ownership a thing of the past, including a new measure in Southern California. The 2021 Regional Transportation Plan recently adopted by the Board of Directors of the Association of the Government of San Diego is a $ 160 billion initiative aimed solely at the metro area to boost public transportation.

That’s a steep price for such a small area, so one of the ways officials have planned to fund it is by levying a per-mile driving tax against citizens. It was such an unpopular decision that it has been scrapped, for now. But I have a funny feeling that the driving tax is going to be revisited. Critics say this and other fines, fees, etc. are designed to reduce personal vehicle ownership for everyone except the wealthy. Expect to see similar metrics in other cities and possibly entire states / territories in North America and beyond in the near future.

As unpleasant as politics is, if car enthusiasts and really all those who like to go where they want when they want in their private vehicle don’t start taking a stand, our freedoms could be severely curtailed in a way that many thought was impossible. . . Not doing something to stop this flare-up will end badly for just about everyone.

Nonetheless, I’m exceptionally happy to say that some have heeded the advice above, especially after it seems like I’ve spent a few years complaining about this stuff in relative isolation. Despite the steady decline of government and corporate interests, the right to redress movement has grown exponentially with a clear interest in the defense of personal property rights. In addition, one of the main reasons San Diego failed to pass the mile-use tax unchanged was in part due to the intervention of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association – a non-partisan association of ‘individuals, businesses and organizations who promote effective and efficient government for the benefit of taxpayers.

The group claimed that the San Diego Regional Planning Agency (SANDAG) lacked accountability and tried to push through sweeping initiatives that were not in the best interests of citizens, citing a particular lack of transparency in how the regional transport plan had been managed.

“While the association recognizes the importance of SANDAG and understands that addressing challenges as a single region is far more effective than any agency working alone, we express our concern about potential inequalities and under-representation in the region. within member agencies, ”said the San Diego County CEO. Haney Hong Taxpayers Association. “SANDAG’s goal is to serve as a regional hub to address our collective challenges, but there is currently no requirement or consistent practice for council members to consult with their municipal colleagues in a structured and public manner in their agencies. There must be a formal and transparent process before coming to the SANDAG boardroom whereby each of you, as representatives of your agencies, collects feedback from your fellow municipal officials and the constituents you represent collectively. Without debates within your member agency, there is no guarantee that you are not simply voting for your priorities.

Biparty support for these kinds of issues (which the San Diego County Taxpayers Association has) will be essential as all parties are now trumpeting the Green Horn without really taking much time to consider the ramifications of the relevant policies or what. the public actually wants. Back in the UK, Ms Harrison is in fact a Tory MP. The same is true for Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson and he has championed new road taxes and reducing the number of private vehicles since being elected mayor of London in 2008.

Their party (or at least the Johnson faction) currently believes it can achieve zero carbon emissions by 2050 and has already committed billions to fund ways to encourage citizens to walk or cycle. He has also decided not to rule out a UK provision effectively banning the sale of petrol cars by 2030 and hopes to make it legal to drive electric scooters on public roads as soon as possible. Having driven to Los Angeles, where the streets are inundated with suicidal electric scooters and the city has dumped billions on sweaty or dead-end mobility projects, I personally can’t think of anything less appetizing.

[Update 12/29/2021: A number of readers have claimed this article doesn’t cite enough Western leaders and/or cities to be valid. Therefore, I’ve decided to remedy the matter. Incoming mayor of New York City, Eric Adams, is implementing congestion-charging in Manhattan to decrease driving. Cleveland’s new mayor, Justin Bibb, has suggested converting existing car lines into protected bike lanes and having new zones where cars cannot go as part of of his sweeping “people over cars” initiative. Boston Mayor Michelle Wu has similar promised free bussing as a way to discourage personal vehicle ownership. Granted, these things can be seen as positives and I’m all for people getting some exercise. But I have also seen all of the above, minus Adams, explicitly mention that it would a good thing to have fewer people owning vehicles. Meanwhile, automakers have been proposing new business models revolving around the concept of shared ownership (spoiler: they own the car if you don’t) for years. 

One Sunday per month, Paris bans cars from the entire city. London currently bans private cars from certain downtown areas. Oslo has been gradually eliminating public parking to discourage people from owning cars. Madrid has even gone so far as to ban all older cars in a hilarious attempt to reduce pollution but has has actually forced citizens to buy new vehicles that would not have otherwise needed to be manufactured. 

The United States is currently where Europe was a couple of decades ago, when the continent started introducing vehicle restrictions, widespread congestion charging, and new taxes designed to discourage driving. On the one hand, major cities did see a decline in vehicle ownership. But it ultimately just made the point of entry higher, making cars exclusive to well-heeled urbanites. Plebian consumers could skimp and save up for that 1.3-liter shitbox. But those wanting something with a bigger engine and comfortable legroom needed to be well-heeled. That strikes me as decidedly unfair, unproductive, and ultimately un-American.]

[Image: Karl_Sonnenberg/Shutterstock]

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