Sunday, November 16, 2008

More on saving GM, Ford and Chrysler

The New York Times has several articles on its Opinion page today about saving the auto companies. One was by Robert Goodman (Have you driven a Bus or Train Lately?). His point is that the auto companies should be forced to start building the type of transport we need for the future. It was interesting to read that Kennedy's Secretary of the Interior, Stuart Udall, talked about the need for such a program in 1972.

Daniel Sperling and Deborah Gorden suggest that raising gas prices using taxes would be a good way to fund the auto company bailout and also save the industry. They also suggest that auto companies be forced to develop more fuel efficient cars and be restricted from fighting environmental legislation. I think that if this type of legislation - suggested by environmentalists but strongly opposed by the auto companies and unions - had been approved in the last 20 years, it would have helped avoid today's problems.

By the way, Daniel Sperling is a professor at the University of California Davis, his research on alternative fuels and transport policy is innovative and extremely well done.

Anyway, for me the bottom line should be: no taxpayer support without a clear commitment from the auto companies not to fight improvements in auto fuel efficiency, anti pollution laws, etc. and that they begin the process of producing effective and efficient mass transport (trains and buses).

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