A few public policy questions for 2020

A few public policy questions for 2020

Make no mistake, envirocrats will continue their push for “green” energy in the new year.

While they appear hell-bent on doing so at any cost, the paramount question should be at what cost.

Now, a draft report from that multi-state collaborative (Pennsylvania included) that calls itself the Transportation and Climate Initiative concedes that transportation costs will rise.

And it’s not pretty.

Gasoline and diesel prices – in the first year alone in the form of carbon taxes – are projected to rise by between 5 cents and 17 cents per gallon.

Consider that merely a starting point.

That money then would be used to subsidize everything from “better” public transit, to more bike lanes, to more electric vehicle charging stations.

Extrapolating this to the extreme, we are forced to ask this question: How many bicyclists will it take to pull all those big-rig trailers that fewer and fewer rigs will be able to afford to pull?

Speaking of envirocratic whackadoodleism, the Post-Gazette reports:

“Pittsburgh International Airport’s new terminal is going green. The Allegheny County Airport Authority board approved an additional $4.7 million in spending … to include environmentally friendly LEED certification as part of the design for the new landside terminal to be used for ticketing, security and baggage claim.”

Never mind that LEED — which stands for “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design” — has been roundly panned for decades as a joke.

Consider this assessment from The Project for Lean Urbanism:

“Analysis suggests LEED buildings perform no better, and in fact perform worse, than non-LEED buildings.

“Many recommended actions, especially those selected by users, have little to no effect.

“Too few of its standards are results-driven, with high pay-back in areas other than environmental stewardship.

“Its rewards are self-serving and used more often by a narrow group of elite users rather than a broad population.”

In highly technical public policy terms, let’s call LEED the crock that it is.

In fact, LEED is nothing better than classic rent-seeking, the Lean Urbanism group says – people trying “to obtain benefits for themselves through political methods rather than wealth creation.”

And do remember, this latest LEED application comes at an airport “modernization” project whose initially publicly stated $1.1 billion price tag now is considered to be only the starting point.

Airport officials like to make the point of order that no local tax dollars will be used in this project. It will be paid for by the airlines, through the rates and charges they pay the airport.

But, rest assured, there will be plenty of state and federal tax dollars flowing to this project in one form or another.

Here’s another public policy question that deserves an answer in 2020: Why was Martin LaMar fired in May 2017?

Martin LaMar? Who’s that? He’s the City of Pittsburgh’s new chief development officer, effective Jan. 6.

But The Blade newspaper of Toledo reports that LaMar was fired for unspecified reasons from his job as president and chief executive officer of the Lucas Metropolitan Housing Authority two and a half years ago.

The why of it all appears never to have been publicly stated.

Inquiring public policy minds would like to know.

Colin McNickle is communications and marketing director at the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy (cmcnickle@alleghenyinstitute.org).