Columnists, Governor Polis, Jon Caldara, Transit, Transportation, Uncategorized

Caldara: Polis wants workers out of their cars

Physical mobility is more important than education when it comes to achieving the American Dream.

You show me a man who is limited to how far his feet can take him, and I’ll show you a man in despair.

In western cities especially, a person limited to where public transit can take him is in no better shape.

Poor, mostly minority, transit-dependent people have no option but to be these second-class citizens — limited to a job that’s walkable, or maybe on the lumbering bus line — and to be slaves to some bureaucrat’s bus schedule.

Yes. Colorado’s government-run transit is racist. Poor people don’t need a free bus pass, they need a car.

The automobile freed us to live, work, study, worship and recreate all in different places. Live where it is most affordable, yet work where it is most beneficial. Nothing liberated and unleashed the American Dream like the automobile.

Gov. Polis, via his appointees, finds this unacceptable. And knowing what is best for other people, they plan to force your employer to force you out of your car.

Under the ruse of improving air quality, the Regional Air Quality Council (RAQC) is pushing a new punishment for driving. Any employer with more than 250 employees (and of course they are already considering lowering it to 100) would be responsible for reducing their workers’ single-occupant car driving to the job to only 75% by 2023 and 60% by 2025.

In order to prove that they are in compliance (my favorite word of our age) the employer would be required to maintain a database, submitted to government of course, detailing how and when their workers got to their job, how far away from work they commute, by what mode, how often they telecommute, etc.

And if your employer didn’t bludgeon you into belching buses or carpools, they’ll have to pay mammoth fines.

Employers will be required to hire an “employee transportation coordinator” to keep the numbers and harass employees out of their cars and into bike lanes or buses. The job is to car-shame working moms. Sure to be the most loved employee in the building!

Wait a sec, isn’t Polis going to force us all into low-emission and electric cars anyway? Well, yes.

The governor committed Colorado to, get this, California’s low-emission car standards. When California Gov. Gavin Newsom decides to outlaw more cars, we automatically have to follow.

Well, if we’re going to have all these non-polluting cars mandated by California, why can’t we drive them? Because this isn’t about air quality, it’s about social engineering. The same people who give lip service to “tolerance and inclusion” can’t tolerate people self-directing their own lives via a car.

Even if a car is powered by bunny flatulence and helps you get to the next Black Lives Matters riot, the elite in power want you on a bicycle. Transit fascists rule today.

Isn’t our metro air quality out of compliance (love that word) from federal standards? Funny you should ask. Why yes, it is. And it often is because of our geography. High altitude, Denver being in a basin and being pushed up against the Rockies are big parts of the problem. Forest fires from in-state and the west coast push us out of compliance. That’s why all governors before Polis, including John Hickenlooper, requested and received waivers from the EPA. Polis, our pro-business governor, refuses to.

If only the state would tax forest fires instead of employers, maybe our air quality would improve without killing more jobs.

Colorado is quickly becoming the anti-employment state. Killing the oil and gas sector with SB-181, the new family leave payroll tax, costly clean-energy mandates, business-crushing lockdowns and a million little paper cuts via regulatory change like this anti-car scheme has driven our unemployment level to 8.2%.

Before Jared Polis took office, our unemployment rate was about 2%, near top in the country.

The Committee to Unleash Prosperity, run by the great economist and close Polis friend Art Laffer, ranks Colorado the fourth-worst state for unemployment today.

If Polis doesn’t stand up to the looney socialist wing of his party and focus on relieving businesses of regulatory and tax burdens, the unemployed of Colorado could make him a one-term governor, despite his one-percenter ability to self-fund a massive re-election campaign.

Jon Caldara is president of the Independence Institute, a free market think tank in Denver.

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