Friday, May 23, 2014

Transportation Tips: Remember our Veterans this Memorial Day

By: Nicholas Ventrone, Community Engagement Director
riversidetransit@gmail.com

Earlier this week, I've learned that one of our sources of local funding for transportation infrastructure, the Transportation Uniform Mitigation Fee (TUMF) is in for a minor and very justifiable change. TUMF is a local program that ensures that new development pays for better infrastructure to offset increased traffic that it creates. In general, developers need to be held accountable for not overwhelming the system caused by such growth of which TUMF addresses.

However, there is a very sound exception in which local officials are backing.

Non-profit organizations which build homes in Western Riverside County for severely disabled veterans will no longer have to pay into the kitty, which adds up to about $9,000 in fee breaks per house. I will argue that this tax break is absolutely the right thing to do; in fact, the federal government should make sure that any disabled veteran who was injured or became disabled while on active duty is taken care of through the US Department of Veterans Affairs. That includes ensuring that they have freedom of mobility and a means to get around. Non-profits dedicated in supporting disabled veterans of whom served our country need our support too; they should not be taxed out.  If our troops are willing to sacrifice their lives on the front lines to defend the very liberty which allows us to debate freely, we need to take care of them, period.

Anyway, we're heading into a weekend dedicated to those who have or are willing to sacrifice their lives for our country. This week I've been seeing all kinds of ads on Memorial Day sales both in the mail and on TV. Sales varied from hot dogs to new electronics to summer clothing. Consumption is dominating the message of the day which waters down the base theme of the holiday.

In the mix of all this, we must not forget the true reason of the day. We live in a free country and we owe a sincere thanks to the men and women who died to give us the freedom in which we enjoy every day. Freedoms include the right of you readers and followers to participate in a robust debate that challenges our elected officials to pass fair laws which give us a robust transportation system, clean environment, and robust marketplace job opportunities. These include policies that allow disabled veterans to move about freely too.

Memorial Day is Monday, May 26. Take an hour and attend a Memorial Day service near you with your family, or if you are unable to attend one, watch one on TV or on the Internet. Afterwards, take in the fun and enjoy the summer barbeque. Talk to you then.

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