Public transit essential
The inability of the Pennsylvania legislature to devise adequate funding for public transportation is but another sign of how far removed from reality Americans and their elected representatives are. Of the 20 million barrels of oil a day that America consumes, 13 million barrels are allocated to the transportation sector alone – mostly for private cars. This is a criminal waste of a valuable resource. Don’t people realize that oil is an essential feedstock to agriculture, pharmaceuticals and manufacturing, and that when it’s gone, it’s gone for good?
The most important conversation in the world today concerns the probable date of Hubbert’s peak – when world oil production (currently set at about 80 million barrels a day) will begin its irreversible decline.
This event will have devastating global consequences – but most especially in the U.S., which is woefully unprepared for it.
It is a sad fact that a century’s access to cheap and reliable fossil fuel energy has made us careless and complacent. The defeat of public transit funding is another ominous sign that America has lost its way.
In the age that is coming -- which will be one of diminishing resources and escalating energy prices -- not to support public transit is suicidal.
The writer has a website devoted to the cultural and social implications of fossil fuel depletion –