10.05.2009

The Road Out of Poverty?

Received a press release today from the uber-right wing Frontier Centre for Public Policy about a new report (link here) by one of its researchers touting the benefits of car ownership to help alleviate poverty. Apparently, the more mobile a person is, the better able they are to (1) search for a job (2) get to work (3) take a different job with another employer with better pay and benefits.

That's certainly our position at prairie dog, with respect to the part about mobility being a key component of economic (and social/cultural/psychological/physical/political) well-being anyway. As for the suggestion that car ownership is the best means to achieve that goal, well, that's where we part ways with the Frontier Centre.

I live and work in downtown Regina. I don't own a car. For eight months out of the year (mid-March to mid-November) I cycle pretty much every where I go. For four months of the year I rely on Regina Transit. Yeah, the service sucks, and is in desperate need of being upgraded. But outside of the odd new set of tires and tubes for my bike, I spend roughly $240 a year on transportation (four monthly bus passes at $60 a pop). Automobile ownership, meanwhile, imposes a significantly greater financial burden in the order of $8000-$10,000 a year minimum, not to mention the immense toll motor vehicles take on the environment and civic infrastructure.

You want to improve people's employment prospects, how about facilitating their ability to move about cheaply and efficiently through walking, cycling and public transit?

4 comments:

whyte39 said...

"$8000-$10,000 minimum"? haha holy crap. I never even spent that much when I had a car that broke daily.

Laura said...

True that some people will not spend that amount, but I would be amazed if many can run their car (insurance, gas, parking, etc) for less than $720 a year (12 months of bus passes)?

Gregory Beatty said...

I lifted the figure from a Sept. 14 Leader-Post article that said the average Saskatchewan household spent $10,330 on transportation in 2008. That figure could mean different things in different circumstances ie how many drivers in the household, whether the people lived in a rural or urban area, etc. Regardless, it's a fair bit of money. Here's the URL for the article: http://www.leaderpost.com/life/Portrait+spending+spree/1995382/story.html

Gregory Beatty said...
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