“No highway expansion,” says Wisconsin lobby

| April 10, 2013

microphone

Here’s a plea to stop building new highway lane miles in Wisconsin.

Hmm.

The new communications era (NCE) allows all sorts of people and groups to take their case directly to the public, sometimes in a clumsy, amateurish way, but often, as in this case, with some pretty convincing work.

But the NCE (I just made that up; every story needs an acronym these days) is supposed to work by giving every point of view (yes, even the nutty ones) a place to post.

We seem to be in an age where policy debate can be a polarizing exercise. We’ve reached that point where public debate often appears like exchanges between two kids in the back seat instantly dragging every argument down to an extended “Is not!” “Is too!” shouting match, sometimes complete with pokes and hair pulling. I’m surprised some of the written arguments don’t come to us in ALL CAPS.

Or maybe it’s just the American way at work, because being able to loudly proclaim your view and also proclaim that it is the right view, and the other guy is wrong, is the way we do things.

The bottom line here is the anti-highway lobby is getting a lot of stuff out there, and much of it is well presented and argued. That’s their side. What’s increasingly missing are reasoned, well-built, lively, engaging presentations from people who know that more roads, and more road building, maintenance and repair funding, are essential to the long-term public interest.

 In this case, we have people pushing for less funding for roads and more for alternatives such as transit. There is a sound counter case to be made based on the very real need for new roads. We need to do a better job of making it.

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