I picked up this book quite a while ago, started reading it in the car, then put it down in the trunk at some point and forgot it. When I had the unfortunate SUV incident in August and emptied the trunk before I waited on his insurance to get an estimate, it reappeared, and so I took it to Mexico with me, and read it.
The author says he will present another side to the debate, the one less heard, and asks the reader's forbearance in forming an opinion. Fair enough. He then presents an argument based on the prniciples of libertarianism, which I can appreciate, and supported by statistics gathered by people such as Wendell Cox, who I can't. If Godwin's Law says invoking Hitler ends a debate, then Brashear's Law says if you cite Wendell Cox, you can keep your garbage.
In any case, he pans the Portland plan based on managed growth, higher density and public transit, saying growth has been pushed into nearby Washington areas. There may be truth to that. It doesn't suggest growth can't be managed, necessarily; after all, government's always-expanding hand could after all, simply expand. But that's not my point, and while he does briefly address my thoughts, he quickly moves away, without even dismissing them.
- The cost of pollution isn't accounted for when you buy gas, and can't be given that every vehicle will carry more, or less, with that fuel. He suggests some libertarians suggest the use of pollution credits, and then says nothing more.
- The usual tripe about "just buy everyone a car, it's cheaper than transit subsidies" comes out, veiled slightly. Great. When you're too old or too young to drive, who will drive you?
- Likewise, yes, driving is faster, but I can't reasonably read a book, work, or anything else while driving. I may not be able to on transit either, depending on how I commute, but it's at least possible. And if you gut your transit system to rush-only trips you force even some people who could and would reasonably use it out, if they work even slightly odd hours.
So, for freedom of choice, we are to suffer without choices. It's ok to subsidize highways, infrastructure for more homes, but man, do anything to encourage people who wish to live in a manner which is sustainable to them (remember, not everyone *can* drive) and someone will scream about the money being taken from them.
If you want to borrow the book, ask. It wasn't worth whatever I paid for it.