Driven To, Um, Do Something ...
Apparently Butch Otter experiences Boise's morning commute firsthand. According to a story in the Idaho Statesman, it takes the governor nearly an hour to drive from his ranch in Star to his office.
As a veteran of morning commutes in Chicago, Philadelphia and Las Vegas, I can certainly empathize. It's a grind. One of the advantages to Twin Falls is that we generally don't have that problem (well, not if you avoid certain streets, anyway).
Quoth the Otter, "The problem is, people are just like me. I'm sitting in the car looking and seeing all these people driving with only one person in the car."
So Otter is feeling a little green these days. He wants to help alleviate the traffic problem in the Boise area ... by encouraging state employees to work from home more. I have no problem with that whatsoever, but it's a drop in the bucket at best.
Otter says the state can provide a model for other businesses to follow, "If we expect them to help, and I do, then we should be helping them by setting an example."
Right. Like driving a big SUV 18 miles one way every day? I don't mind if people own and drive SUVs per se, but it's a bit disingenuous of Otter to preach environmental conservation from behind the wheel of a Ford Expedition. At least Jerry Brown got himself a compact from the state motor pool when he was governor of California in the 70s.
I have a feeling there will be taxpayer-funded billboards, TV and radio spots in Boise's near future extolling the virtues of working from home, Which in turn will be largely ignored by the general population as the traffic situation gets worse. It'll be yet another example of the Idaho Republican Party's surreal definition of "small government."
If I may, allow me to offer an alternate proposal: give incentive to individuals and businesses to practice more environment-friendly commuter practices. Yes, work from home. Yes, carpool. But give them a more tangible reason to do so than warm fuzzies from the Statehouse.
While we're at it, let's not duck the issue of improving the infrastructure in the Boise area. I believe it can be done without raising taxes (again) if our friends in Boise realign their financial priorities (see a recent blog for more on that). Don't forget the rest of the state, either.
*sigh* Is there anyone up there who actually knows what they're doing? They should ponder that on their commute.