If you drive a hybrid, alternative-fuel, or zero-emissions vehicle in Cedar Rapids, Iowa – you’ll soon get the privilege of parking in the most convenient spots in the city’s garages. One of the city’s engineers, Sandy Pumphrey, says he hopes it will make people think twice about bringing vehicles like a HUMMER downtown. But is that an appropriate policy?
In addition to the posh spots, the city is also installing electrical lines for electric vehicle owners to recharge their batteries at the City’s (read: taxpayer’s) expense.
First let me say that I’m not against hybrid or all-electric vehicles, and in fact, I’m quite excited that development is already underway of alternative-power HUMMER vehicles. What I am against is cities and governments giving preferential treatment to anyone on the basis of a vehicle purchase in order to bring about change.
If the city of Cedar Rapids was really concerned about bringing change that people care about, maybe they should look at what citizens are actually concerned about and adopt a parking policy around that.
Below are the results from a CNN poll that asked participants what they thought was the most important issue facing America today.
1) The Economy – 47%
2) Health Care – 17%
3) Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – 12%
4) Federal Budget Deficit — 11%
5) Education – 6%
6) Terrorism – 4%
7) Energy Policy—2%
Based on these results, Cedar Rapids should give preferential treatment to:
1) Any business owner who has created 5 or more local jobs in the last 6 months
2) Doctors, Nurses, and other workers that save lives
3) Military Men and Women, both current and former
4) Anyone who pays more than $20k in taxes
5) Teachers, school counselors, and their support staff
6) All federal and local agencies (homeland security, police, fire, EMS) that would help during a terrorist attack.
These are six groups that are taking on issues that 97% of Americans think are more important than energy policy. Most would agree that each of these groups is more deserving of preferential treatment, (even though the jury may still be out on #4), regardless of what they drive.
Even though these groups may be more deserving, they are the groups that would never ask or even suggest they should get preferential treatment based on what they do. Unfortunately, it’s apparent the same cannot be said for many hybrid owners who have adopted a ‘holier-than-thou’ attitude.