Rep. Mark Takano's office engages The Transit Coalition

We've mentioned a few times on this blog that Congressman Mark Takano kicked off his "100 Businesses in 100 Days" tour in the 41st Congressional District which covers the Perris region, Moreno Valley, Riverside, and Jurupa Valley. The Congressman has also surveyed his District 41 residents on transportation matters.

It's vital for elected officials and leaders to get out and see what's going on in the community in order to gather the facts needed to draft and support sound policy for the public's good with all partisan politics set aside. Takano plans to use this information toward crafting future federal legislation.

Takano's office staff contacted The Transit Coalition last week and we've engaged in a productive teleconference. Besides what was posted on this blog the morning of the conference regarding the transit survey and the 100 Businesses and 100 Days Tour, the Coalition learned one other major item regarding Takano's community engagement.

For the record, it's common for concerned citizens and the media to talk with public officials and gather information and exchange comments. However, we never make any political deals with any politician about any matter whatsoever.

What we learned:

From his staff, Takano is also concerned of ongoing freeway expansion without transit infrastructure. Such a mobility threat was mentioned once before in a Riverside Transit Agency Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats (SWOT) analysis based on an RTA February, 2013 Board of Directors report. We've already pointed out and made it clear during the teleconference that the proposed high occupancy toll lanes in Riverside County need direct access ramps adjacent to transit centers and park & ride lots, much like the I-15 Express Lanes in San Diego County. Certainly, such decisions need to be made locally and not by the feds, but we've pointed out that those in Congress do have significant voices in the public arena.

We did mention some other ideas to Takano's staff that needs to be considered for future bipartisan federal legislation which includes policies for controlling the deficit and the $17 trillion federal debt. The focus at the federal level needs to be improving the economy by allowing the private sector to freely innovate and drive the marketplace to prosperity. While not mentioned in the teleconference, Takano supports eliminating trivial government red tape, but also generally supports direct government investments in the market economy. In other words, more deficit spending in an attempt to prop up the economy. Those are proposals that must be closely watched. We don't want the country to go bankrupt.

What we commented:

We've made our points clear to his office; so here it is. With spending out of control, the federal government simply cannot afford to pump more money into the marketplace. The feds should not directly hand out money to the private sector; this is a pathway toward a centrally controlled economy which is not compatible in the U.S. marketplace. If the federal government wants to clean up the trucking industry for example, which it should, regulate pollution but also give the private sector a tax incentive to develop the technology needed for cleaner trucks. That will clean up the air without killing the trucking business, but don't directly dump huge sums of federal dollars into the industry. Tax incentives have historically worked well with the funding of non-profit organizations, but we certainly don't want a repeat of the Solyndra fiasco.

We also made it clear that while common sense rules to combat corporate greed and corruption, pollution, and urban sprawl are vital, streamlining and/or eliminating trivial regulations and red tape are key to getting the marketplace back to a robust state. We know that building a clothing factory next to Yellowstone National Park is pure urban sprawl, but what exactly is preventing investors from building such a job site next to downtown Perris? By the way, we've brought Rep. Mike Kelly's speech on the economy and his legal nightmare of reopening a renovated ballpark into the conversation.

Increasing the value of the wage dollar:

We've also made this point: Under the Obama administration and heavy pressure from labor unions to increase wages for working Americans, the feds continue to pump and print money into the marketplace which causes the value of the dollar to weaken. Under a healthy economy with abundant jobs, the value of the wage dollar goes up. In the 1960's, the federal minimum wage was $2.00 per hour, but translate that figure into today's currency and that adds up to over $9.00 per hour; that's more than the current minimum and possibly a livable wage for a single worker. Do the feds and the unions understand that if they want higher wages and benefits, allowing the private sector to invest back into the economy is key to making it happen?

Drafting a bipartisan bill to improve the economy: 

Rep. Takano should take his findings, work with colleagues on the other side of the aisle, and write up a report and a bipartisan bill to get the economy back to where it needs to be without handing out any federal money. The bill needs to be written in a way that will address the spending madness. The legislation needs to open the door for the private sector to lead the nation and the Inland Empire back into economic prosperity with a productive labor workforce.