RE: too many cars

Interesting dialog starting here.  So I thought I would throw in another
two cents worth.  To some degree too many cars is a matter of perspective
and where you are located.  If you don't live in or near an urban area, you
aren't so likely to perceive the number of cars on the road as being "too
many" simply because the population isn't so great.  More to the point
however, is that most of us who live in rural areas, either by necessity or
choice, must use cars to get to work -- there simply isn't any other way.
Mass transit is economically feasible only in densely populated areas.  If
one increases gasoline and other taxes as a means of coercing people to use
mass transit systems, one is seriously penalizing those who have no access
to mass transit and therefore must use cars -- most notably the rural poor.
Suggesting bicycles and other non-automotive forms of transportation again
works only where the distances are short.  Many rural residents must deal
with 20 to 30 mile distances in order to get to work.  I am not referring
here to the relatively well off urbanites who move to the "country" and
telecommute to work.  I am thinking of the large number of rural people who
used to be able to farm for a living, but given our economic, social, and
agricultural situation no longer can -- so they take a job at whatever
factory, store, etc. will hire them.  The job is often miles from where
they live.  Why should they be penalized by the tax structure for a
situation over which they have very little control.   If we really think
(and I am not at all sure we should) that it is necessary to coerce
urbanites and  suburbanites into using mass transit, then a way should be
found which does not penalize rural residents.

Just an odd thought or two.  Cheers to all


Margaret Merrill
Agricultural Librarian
University Libraries
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
P.O.Box 90001
Blacksburg, VA  24062-9001
        phone  540/231-2322
        email  mmerrill@vt.edu