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May 15, 2006

The Car-less Roadbuilder

Thanks to Jon Stahl for inviting me to contribute to Evergreen Politics.

For this first post, I thought I'd bring attention to what has got to be the most ironic news story of the year so far:  Doug MacDonald, the Washington State Secretary of Transportation, cannot drive. As the Seattle Times reported earlier this month, he failed to pass the vision portion of the State's driving test due to a degenerative eye disease. Although the state will provide a driver for him while he's working, at all other times he has to use his feet, a bicycle, a bus, a train, or a cab.

I would certainly never wish blindness on anyone. However, empathy is an incredibly powerful motivator for changing long-held beliefs. As a bicycle commuter and member of a four-person, one-car family, I must confess a certain amount of glee in imagining the rapidly shifting perspective the Secretary has on the level of funding various modes of transportation should receive. It's like witnessing the birth of a comic-book character:  "After losing the ability to drive, mild-mannered Secretary MacDonald was transformed into CAPTAIN MODESPLIT--promoter of transportation choices, defender of cyclists, pedestrians, the aged, and the young, fighting for freedom and mobility throughout the Evergreen State!"

Hey, it could happen.

Posted by Matt Stevenson on May 15, 2006 at 12:51 PM in Policy | Permalink


Yr right -- it's the stuff of legend or perhaps just lowly fiction. We see this story played out over and over in politics -- real life intervening and pointing the way to good policy. Like Cheney's gay daughter or Nancy Reagan's insight on stem cell research because of her husband.

Posted by: Noemie Maxwell | May 16, 2006 8:51:47 AM

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