Saturday, July 25, 2009

Stop Funding Sprawl-Start Funding Urban Cores!

The recent decision of the Cleveland Regional Transit Authority to discontinue the service of smaller circulator bus services inspired the following thoughts which I shared with several state representatives......


As Ohio moves into the future we must find was to help preserve its urban historical heritage and its rural/natural historical heritage.

I believe we can do both, but only if we cease this archaic spending pattern that has rural interests being represented more than urban. By shifting funding interest and support in favor of urban, Ohio will boast attractive urban cores that will promote economic prosperity, environmental sustainability, less dependency on oil---as well as social and economic diversity. We will create thriving and world wide competitive urban cores that are truly one of a kind.

What the above will in turn mean for rural interests is that we preserve Ohio’s family agriculture community from being overrun with unsustainable, unethical, and environmentally destructive factory farming. Additionally we will help protect many other small locally owned and independently operated businesses from the homogenization of the clone zone franchising scene. We will preserve Ohio’s unique natural heritage/environment---and rural identity.

I do not comprehend how anyone who is thinking on a long term future basis---can be supporting measures that lead to the kind of land and energy consuming sprawl we do not need. Supporting spending stimulus money for rural over urban, for example, contributes to making rural Ohio go extinct. Where was the gain? How does this end up ‘supporting’ or benefiting rural areas, in the long run when they will be destroyed along with the quality of life they offer? Is such support looking out for the best interests of the identity forged for years that became the charm of rural America??? No, its not… And people need to learn that sprawl in areas that do not need it, is not some sort of benefactor as conventional misguided wisdom seems to suggest.

By taking federal stimulus money and spending most of it outside the urban core, we only dig a deeper hole in being more oil co-dependent--by creating energy consumptive cities outside of cities outside of cities and so on. When does this aggressive cycle level off and strive to achieve sustainability?

No more spending on, and construction of roads, bridges, and other infrastructures that will eventually become a maintenance spending never ending nightmare---if we cannot even maintain what we have already. What kind of mess is this state visually going to look like in the future? Do you think such a chaotic seen will foster the kind of quality of life people or businesses seek when deciding to locate somewhere. Why hasn’t Ohio learned after all these years, that such sprawl and financial support of it, only benefit’s a few, and not the state overall?


Ohio is still following these outdated spending models that favor rural over urban. As a taxpayer with a say in the matter, I do not want more money, especially stimulus money, spent on new rural roads and bridges, etc., that will just promote more sprawl…..UNLESS they are existing items that are in need of repair. Otherwise, we should be spending the majority of the money helping to build healthy and competitive urban core scenes that we can be proud of in Ohio. Part of helping to achieve creating the thriving urban core means increasing spending for encouraging and promoting alternative means of transportation such as busses, trains. It means MORE funding for public transportation, NOT less!

This state for too long has been given limited choice in the transportation scene as we have had cars and highways crammed down our throats for too long, which helped to foster and promote this very costly ongoing habit of the automobile, in the first place. Had trains and busses had the luxury of finance, advertising and promoting as do anything associated with cars, highways, etc, you would see more people riding these alternative modes. Ohio had it right the first time when the state designed a comprehensive network of rail service. Then, suddenly, we scrapped that, and allowed the auto industry to get us hooked on cars. While that certainly has purpose, by no means should we be so limited in choice.

Environmentally, we need to pull our heads from our tails and the sand…get out of denial and understand we are reaching a pivotal tipping point in this world. We will have to chose which direction we will want that scale to fall before there is no turning back--and all goes downhill, economically, socially, and environmentally. 1. On a side that has negative outcomes….by supporting sprawl and becoming more co-dependent on oil and other limited recourses---leaving us on this never ending treadmill rat race to nowhere and thus becoming the ‘good ‘ole boy’ closed minded laughing stock of the nation. OR 2. We chose to create positive impacts that will gain international kudos---and be an example setter and leader---by rebuilding the urban cores to achieve the kind of sustainability which is essential if we are going to become a place of choice for anyone or any company with forward progressive thinking. I hope for the sake of our state’s future, you will consider taking the latter choice.

Please do not undermine our urban cores OR our rural heritage anymore by supporting this mis-allocation and balance of funding that continually favors rural. The time for that kind of thinking has long passed. I do not want to be embarrassed of this state anymore by decisions that are contrary to what we should be doing for a more sustainable future for both urban and rural environments.