Local community engagement on transportation and the federal government

Rep. Mark Takano who represents Riverside, Moreno Valley, and Perris in Congress continues to engage the community by collecting public input and common facts. Takano plans to use this information toward crafting future federal legislation. We'll point out some suggestions in a moment, but first we'll look at his transportation survey results.

The Press Enterprise reported that the congressman surveyed his District 41 residents. The results of almost 550 entries show that addressing traffic congestion by expanding freeway capacity and rail options are top transportation priorities, not surprisingly. It's no question that Inland Empire traffic congestion is at unacceptable levels during peak commute hours and weekends. Worse yet, getting around the region on a Friday afternoon is a complete disgrace. The fact of the matter is that full time jobs are scarce in the Inland Empire and housing prices including rentals in Orange County, north San Diego County and West Los Angeles are inflated through the roof. Try to compare the prices of apartments in Irvine and Temecula. While it's true property values naturally go up in areas with a robust economy, under no circumstances should prices be inflated by short supply or marketplace speculation.

Takano also toured the Perris Station Transit Center, one of the major southern stations for the Perris Valley Line Metrolink extension. The long proposed line combined with the existing routes run through the heart of District 41. Based on the Takano's survey project, his residents support the expansion of passenger rail. This demonstrates that while many Inland Empire residents may specifically oppose the bullet train project sponsored by the California High Speed Rail Authority, they support having a fast rail alternative in general. The grade separation projects taking place in Riverside should contribute toward faster Metrolink service.

Inland Empire mass transit and federal legislation

With Congressman Takano deeply engaged in the community, what can be done at Washington to cut down on long distance commuting and chronic traffic congestion in the Inland Empire? The Transit Coalition's Future Vision of Inland Empire Mass Transit generally shows what needs to be done. At the federal level here are some suggestions:
  • Streamline and/or repeal trivial government rules and regulations that obstructs marketplace economic growth with full time jobs. Our transportation system will be worthless without a robust labor workforce. What is obstructing full time job growth in Riverside? What is preventing infill housing projects from taking place in Southern Orange County to address demand and control inflated costs?
  • Debate real solutions to curb artificial price speculation which unfairly drives up housing prices through short supply at the population centers.
  • Control the out-of-control federal deficit as the national debt is fast approaching $17 trillion. We don't want our country to go bankrupt. Stop the waste. Allow the non-profit sector and volunteers to take a more active role in worthwhile social justice programs to cut unnecessary taxpayer costs. Why are local homeless outreach organizations like Project Touch shut out from setting up shelters all due to excessive government bureaucracy?
  • Stop pandering to the will of special interests through unaffordable salaries and benefits which artificially drives up public infrastructure costs and contributes deeply toward government waste. This is a prime reason why expanded transit and public works infrastructure appears unaffordable. As we've mentioned, the way to drive up the value of the wage dollar and benefits is getting the private sector to freely invest in the marketplace economy, not by inflating the dollar amount. We don't want a repeat of the Hyperinflation in the Weimar Republic.
  • Revisit trivial federal policies that obstruct private sector hiring which contribute toward income inequality. Stockholders and those at the top simply will not sacrifice their profits, period. As businesses are forced to cut salaries, reduce take-home pay, and replace full time positions with part time jobs all due to trivial rules and regulations, income inequality will actually worsen. In a robust market economy where jobs are plentiful, American workers are paid more simply because such businesses actually need them and can afford to hire them without negating their profits. Ever wonder why the stock market doesn't reflect the true economic picture?
To be fair, the feds do need to continue to regulate and combat common issues like corporate greed, artificial price speculation, environmental pollution, and urban sprawl. Any fair-minded individual knows that. However, if the feds want to fill our transit fleets with a productive marketplace workforce, they need to allow the private sector to expand the economy.