Reason Foundation

Reason Foundation

Urban Kyotos?

Leonard Gilroy
May 30, 2005, 10:46am

From the "taking your eyes off the ball" file: Come on, guys...where are your priorities? Don't urban mayors have bigger fish to fry than well-intentioned fluff like this? How about...uhhhh...addressing the completely dysfunctional urban education system!? Or maybe modernizing infrastructure? Or removing regulatory barriers to affordable housing and community economic development? Geez...not to mention the obvious competitive disadvantages from adopting local pollution control ordinances, for example. If you're the CEO of manufacturing company X and you're evaluating two cities for relocation or expansion opportunities -- one with a mini-Kyoto policy or one without -- which one will appear more appealing from a regulatory perspective? And you can bet that the Smart Growth crowd is applauding this initiative, as it presents the movement another opportunity to push its agenda on a wide scale. So we can probably expect to hear renewed calls for such things as strong growth management policies and light-rail systems, with the attendant deleterious effects of choking off the housing supply (and raising prices), increasing congestion and density, and diverting scarce public $$$ to wasteful transit boondoggles. These mayors apparently missed the main theme of Governing 101: good intentions tend to make bad public policy.

Leonard Gilroy is Director of Government Reform

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