By TOM HONIG
It's funny how local political arguments spring up out of nowhere. I was at O'Neill Sea Odyssey's "Taste of the Harbor" event on Thursday (great event, great program) when I heard somone discuss the latest trendy take on local transportation: "Instead of spending money to widen Highway 1, how about fixing the roads around the county."
I admit to an eye-roll, but didn't think much about it until I picked up Friday's Sentinel. A letter to the editor entitled "Fix my road instead" essentially said the same thing, complete with a blast at the Regional Transportation Agency for moving ahead with a widening project between Soquel Avenue and 41st Avenue. The letter was complete with accusations of "steal(ing) our money and "extortion."
Expect more of this argument. It'll soon be the hot new sound bite in discussing transportation.
Let's leave aside the issues of different pots of money -- and even the obvious selfishness of "fix it for me but not for the other guy."
What's too often missing in the debate over highway widening is that traffic moving at less than 30 miles an hour fouls the air to a much greater degree than if cars are moving. If you really care about lessening the carbon footprint, you want traffic to move better.
But don't expect that environmental argument to win converts from the anti-widening folks.