Why Ubiquitous Transit in Louisiana is Non-Negotiable
As I make my way through my latest read, entitled The Privatization of Everything, I cannot help but feel daunted by the truth telling that must be done to help all of us realize the many ways in which public goods and services, intended to affirm the principles and tenets of our very country’s promise, have been eroded.
And let’s be honest with ourselves: our quality of life is untenable in Louisiana.
Living here comes with some serious tradeoffs. Make no mistake, Louisiana is my home and I love it to death, warts and all. And part of our charm is our people. We love deeply – our families, communities, the wildlife and culture. Heck statistically, we are some of the happiest people in the country!
But of the many things we have to lament about, one thing Louisianans feel equally (and equally loathe) is the quality of transit in Louisiana. Whether you live in a busy urban city center or in a rural part of the state, I’m pretty sure that if you close your eyes, reflect on your day, and think about one of the most frustrating parts of it, one of the things that comes to mind is your morning commute.
And if so, you’re not alone. In fact, you’re just like the rest of us.
It may seem like a relatively trivial part of our lives, but I think we can all agree that we are spending far too much time in our cars, mindlessly rotting away in the infinite abyss that is Louisiana traffic, instead of out there in the world – seamlessly connecting, transporting, and making memories with one another.
And yet, because of the way our state is designed – both intentionally and inadvertently – traffic, and by extension the need to own and drive a car has become an unfortunate necessary evil in Louisiana. Consider this: there are entire parts of our state that are cut off from the rest of us, accessible only by car. No buses, no trains, certainly no public transit and in some cases, nary an Uber or Lyft driver for 50 miles.
After you factor in the costs of driving, of insurance and repairs, and then consider the added responsibilities of being a caretaker, or a single mother, or an elderly grandfather trying to get his groceries or safely get to appointments, or a union worker seeking another promotion but on the other side of town. It’s clear that the limitations of car ownership just do not work for Louisianans.
Louisiana’s political leaders must commit to creating a diverse, fresh and ubiquitous, statewide transit system, available to ALL Louisianans and they must do it now.