“These car-oriented cities, the bill is now starting to come due.”
As gas prices go up, and as Congress continues to dither over the cost of maintaining the nation’s highways, Thomas Fisher, dean of the University of Minnesota’s design college, says we are simply seeing the natural consequences of America’s car culture.
“People are certainly free to live out in remote areas, but the idea that we have to continuously extend all of this infrastructure that we can’t afford, out to them, is simply not affordable any more,” says Fisher.
So we just tell them to build their own roads?
“Well, we used to have a lot of dirt roads and a lot of gravel roads in this country. Frankly, I think we’re going to have to go back to a lot of that,” he says.
But it won’t be a bad thing. In fact, Fisher says that some of the healthiest people live in places like Manhattan because they can walk everywhere they need to go, and there’s less obesity, less asthma, and fewer auto accidents.
This change won’t be forced on us by government, but by the market. It’s the only way to compete with countries that don’t have to spend nearly as much to get employees to their workplaces.
“We’re going to move from an old model to actually living, working and making in a much closer proximity to each other.
And to people who say you can take my car when you pry the steering wheel from my cold, dead fingers?
“You’re probably going to be increasingly working in a way where you’re not going to need your car, because you’re not going to be commuting.”
Thomas Fisher, from the Twin Cities – where they are not letting the freeways return to gravel, but they are hiding them by covering them with parks.
Listen to the full interview on the latest episode of RossFire: