Another letter to the Age

Bruce Gibbens (Letters, Sunday Age, 12 March 2017) asks why high street businesses are subsidised by parking on public roads. Let’s go further: why are vehicle manufacturers and trucking companies subsidised by the alienation of public land for roads, freeways, and car parks? More efficient and less expensive, environmentally damaging, and space consuming transport options are available—trains, trams, bikes, walking. Systemically, all of these are faster than cars, too. But, brainwashed by 100 years of motoring advertising (propaganda), we believe driving and car ownership to be not just necessities but rights, important means of self-expression even. We believe huge trucks can barrel through our cities without risk or damage. We believe we need more roads to allow these activities. These are delusions that serve only the profits of car manufacturers and trucking barons. Subsidising these people through road building (and maintenance) is an indulgence. We should limit not just parking but the numbers and types of cars and trucks. As well as imposing proper restrictions on power, speed, noise, fuel efficiency, and size, that means limiting road construction. Not to do so is nonsensical.

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