Of bike lanes & govt. energy bosses

Of bike lanes & govt. energy bosses

The Tribune-Review reports that “a master plan for bicycling in Pittsburgh is about to be released by city officials, who say its contents will quell bikers’ frustrations.”

Bikers, perhaps, but what about motorists and taxpayers?

In the first case, motorists have just about had their fill with the continuing truncation of streets.

In the latter, taxpayers question the public resources being pumped into bike lanes whose utilization continues to raise large question marks.

And here’s another question for bicyclists seeking parity with motor vehicles: Are you free riders willing to, through, say bike registration fees, start paying your share of the bike lanes you keep demanding?

Additionally, a good way to restore some clarity to this public policy issue would be to conduct various unannounced census days to count real utilization.

The days of announcing such things so bicyclists can juice the numbers should be a thing of the past.

One can only wonder if the next public policy pronouncement from Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto will be that all new home construction is banned from using natural gas.

After all, that’s what 13 cities and one county in California have decreed. Others, in such places as Massachusetts, Oregon and Washington state, are said to be considering such bans.

The idea is to force the use of “green”-generated electricity. At a premium, it must be noted.

“This is a must-do for the climate and a livable planet,” Sierra Club official Rachel Golden to USA Today. Oh, please.

Of course, various studies have shown it is more expensive to run an all-electric home.  And the shale gas revolution has saved consumers millions of dollars while transitioning electricity generation from coal-fired plants to cleaner natural gas – about $1.1. trillion since 2008, according to an industry study.

The savings per household is calculated to have averaged $4,000 between 2008 and 2018. Industries have saved money as have state governments.

(And here’s an interesting nugget from the study:

“If Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia were a country, it would be the world’s third-largest natural gas producer.” )

At this juncture, we are tempted to say, “Throw another log on the fire, honey; it’s getting cold outside.”

But given the number of jurisdictions that also have banned or are planning on banning wood-burning fireplaces in the home, you might soon not have the chance.

And it’s pretty darn difficult to roast chestnuts on a living room electric baseboard heater. We’re just sayin’.

But all jocularity aside, this is a serious matter. Many people use fireplaces as primary and emergency heating sources. But even if they don’t, government still has no business telling you how to keep you and your family warm.

What’s next, government washer, dishwasher and toilet regulations? Oh, we’ve had those for a quite some time and the populace is plagued with washers and dishwashers that clean neither clothes nor dishes and toilets that don’t get the job done.

Sounds a lot like government, doesn’t it?

As British historian T.B. Macaulay reminded a long time ago, “It may be laid as a universal rule that a government which attempts more than it ought will perform less.”

Our government energy bosses more than resemble that timeless adage.

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