Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Lane Warfare.

A toll lane opened yesterday on highway 394 in Minneapolis. The "carpool" lane, reserved for buses and drivers with passengers, was a failure as most freeway users prefer to commute without a navigator. As a result of having a clear, open lane for miles while the non-HOV lanes are out-paced by unicycle pilots, Minnesota has allowed solo drivers to obtain an RFID tag from the state and use the HOV lane for a toll based on traffic conditions, listed on electronic boards. Bike, bus, couple or credit card. Simple. After a morning and afternoon commute, it appears to be a success. Who could find something to complain about lighter traffic and increased state revenue? The Left.

Leave it to the Left to turn pavement, paint and electronics into a issue of class-warfare. Opponents of the HOV/toll lane argue that giving every vehicle the same opportunity to use the toll lane is really a special privilege of the wealthy, the "Lexus lane."

There were a handful of people on overpasses with signs that read "SCAM" and a couple of them even spelled it right. I'm not sure how drivers (consumers) who are willing to make a buying decision (paying the toll) based on traffic levels and the current toll price translates to "SCAM", but such is the mind of people who believe 12 feet of pavement separated by a double-white line can discriminate based on income. I don't get it.

No Minnesota road would be complete without an idiot. Fortunately for everyone on 394 yesterday, one of them was advertising. In addition to his/her/its "Kerry for President" bumper sticker, they had a sign on the back of their dilapidated van that read, "No lane for rich people." Fighting the urge to call the State Patrol and report the "operation of an unsafe vehicle on a public roadway," I screamed past them with everyone else in the non-HOV lanes at about 70 mph until things got clogged as I neared my exit. Counting on drivers not to risk a $300 ticket by crossing the double white to pass him, he had it parked in the HOV lane to clog it. Carpoolers or busses be damned, along with those "rich" people with a quarter to burn.

I haven't seen these people outside Ruth's Chris with "No food for rich people" signs. I haven't seen them brandishing "No cars for rich people" at the BMW dealership. Why now over concrete?

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