Summer is approaching, vacations hover just beyond high school graduations, and the cost of fueling up your beach ride is out of control. The price of gas, climbing steadily toward $4 a gallon, is one of the most tangible indicators to voters that the world is on the right or wrong track. High gas prices give fodder to politicians to push any number of public policy fixes, be it oil drilling, tinier cars, or more bike paths.
It's a tired debate. Oil prices are certain to escalate and then crash back down in several more cycles before any transportation policies are implemented to make pump prices less painful. Still, it will be interesting to watch which ideas get the most traction, including how the folks touting alternative transportation will couch their arguments that mass transit and biking save money on gas.
Now that fuel prices are emptying our wallets, is it time to ask whether we are too dependent on our cars? Should commuters have more options for getting around? Are the advocates seeking more bus lanes and parking fees to pave roads actually declaring a war on cars? Does it make sense to talk about alternative transportation in the wake of high gas prices? Or are gas prices and public transit unrelated?