Transportation Policy's Vicious Circle

Yes, Measure M will produce a lot of money to improve our roads. Two articles ("Engineers Plan to Roll Fast on Measure M List," Nov. 11, and "Watchdogs Vie to Oversee 'M' Funds," Nov. 13) emphasize the huge sum that the additional half-cent sales tax will yield.

Sure, the money must be spent for purposes intended by the statute. The Times reports that 324 people applied for positions on the watchdog committee set up by the measure to monitor spending.

The promise of Measure M is stillborn because the measure does not address the cause of auto pollution: overdevelopment of Orange County. Measure M fails to effectively address the issue of growth: population pollution.

Do you have any doubt that traffic improvements from Measure M expenditures will be pounced upon by developers to argue for further growth? Developers did not pour in huge sums supporting the measure because they desired better quality of life for the rest of us. Congestion is profitable.

Traffic relief provided by Measure M funds will be temporary unless growth is curtailed, because our capacity to produce more drivers for more cars far outstrips our capacity to provide the roads upon which they must operate.

My prediction: After the $3 billion garnered by Measure M has been expended as the measure requires, our automobile transportation mess will still be with us--all pain, no gain.

Worse, the politicians who approved the growth that placed us in this mess will have continued those same policies, and they will still be in office.

I would be a lot more impressed if 324 people had volunteered to monitor the politicians who made the decisions that produced this congested chaos in the first place.


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