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More Freeways Equal More Oil Dependency

April 12, 2002

Re "The Pressure Is On to Play the Oil Card," Commentary, April 10 and "Will More Freeways Bring More Traffic?" April 10: It should be increasingly clear by now that America's dependence on oil, particularly foreign oil, is the Achilles' heel of our nation's security. We have placed the fate of our economy in the hands of the OPEC nations. Southern California's addiction to the automobile only exacerbates the problem and creates not only gridlock here but also has profound environmental and political consequences. As a nation, we must begin to consider energy efficiency, particularly in transportation, as a top priority of our new homeland security agenda. Spending hundreds of millions of taxpayers' dollars on new freeway construction only takes us farther down the wrong road.

In terms of energy used per passenger-mile, a single person in an SUV is about the most inefficient mode of transportation in human history, while the most efficient is a person on a bicycle. Trains might be a good compromise. It is high time to devote a large portion of transportation funds and our new homeland security budget to the creation of a system of high-speed rail, both for commuters and for travel between cities. We will be helping the environment, relieving gridlock and bolstering our security at the same time. Another good feature of trains--they are difficult to hijack.

John Tarver

Los Angeles


Re "Hussein Suspends Iraqi Oil Exports in Protest," April 9: Have bicycle, will travel.

Robert M. Imm


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