Rep. Jerry Lewis's naivete of 20 years ago can hardly be "repaid" through his recent revelations regarding emissions versus cost. A freight-laden truck uses more fuel because it does not share the minimal changes in grades or the constant speed and unrestricted passage that a train does. Still, the truck's flexible point-to-point freight capacity makes it cost-effective versus the train. Locally, the railroads have sold major rail trunk lines to various public transportation agencies while still running freight. Of course, the maintenance and liability, not to mention the payoff on the multimillion-dollar bonds, is now the responsibility of the local taxpayers, not the private for-profit railroads.
A previously major non-stationary source of hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides, private automobiles are now 99% cleaner than 20 years ago and now account for less than 24% of the current total. This leaves the major contributors stationary sources such as refineries, electrical generating plants and some private industries. All of these have major political clout, thus negating any attempt at emissions control.
No thanks, Rep. Lewis. It was your ignorance and spinelessness of 20 years ago and now your diversions of today that have and continue to subject us taxpayers to the voodoo science of the EPA and the economy-draining, Draconian social engineering of your bully boy, the Air Quality Management District.