Robbing Peter to Pay for Paul’s New Car

How infuriating is this? The Senate approved a tax break Tuesday — for people buying new cars.

Sen. Barbara Mikulski led the successful effort to allow many car buyers to claim an income tax deduction for sales taxes paid on new autos and interest payments on car loans.

She said the plan would aid the beleaguered automobile industry as well as create jobs at a time the economy is losing them at a rapid rate. “I believe we can help by getting the consumer into the showroom,” she said.

Yesterday the NY Times reported that mass transit ridership is surging — yet “Transit systems across the country are raising fares and cutting service even when demand is up with record numbers of riders last year”

I feel bad for people who work for automakers, and people who work in the industry (who would also be affected if an automaker fails). But I have to take a Darwinian approach to the automakers, since they are now using taxpayer dollars to sue taxpayers so they can continue to ignore fuel efficiency standards.

Besides, a senate decision giving people tax breaks to put new cars on the road without fuel standards is in effect dictating foolish transportation policy: “Drive more!”

Let’s see: Does it increase our dependence on foreign oil? Yes. Does it harm the environment? Yes. Does it work towards overwhelming our already teetering infrasctructure? Yes. Does it discourage better systems of transportation? Yes.

That’s why I signed a petition to senators opposing this stupid decision. Instead, this petition advocates that we fix crumbling infrastructure before building any new roads. And more importantly, using stimulus money to fund transit systems. Here are the details:

Hello there! I just sent a letter to my senators about the stimulus bill urging them to propose smart investments in our nation’s infrastructure.

Last week, the House announced their version of a stimulus bill – but it was missing too much of what our country needs and would have left too many Americans behind. With enough pressure, however, we were able to get them to change the bill and provide more help for the millions who depend on public transportation every single day.

We have a real chance to create millions of jobs, reduce our dangerous dependence on foreign oil, protect our environment, and make America competitive again in world markets. I want to see streets that are safe for pedestrians and cyclists, high-speed trains, updated metro lines…not billions of dollars dumped into expanding the old highway system!

We have to make sure the Senate follows the House’s lead by increasing investment in transit. We have a unique opportunity right now to throw away the old playbook and start making transportation investments that really count, but we have to start now.

Please, join me and write your senators today!

Thanks so much for your help!


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