Former Madison Mayor Paul Soglin has been enduring the failure of his city to clean up after a snow storm. He offers advice to Madison’s current city leadership on what went wrong during the storm and the real cost of failure. Of the real costs, Soglin writes,
A group of environmentalists and business leaders in New York City estimated that Manhattan’s congestion costs $5 billion annually when time, wasted fuel, and related health and environmental costs are assessed.
There was some of the usual Madison smugness in response ot the post-storm problems from folks who figured slowing down and emasculating the automobile was a good idea.
Until we get a European-style rail system the automobile and the bus is all we have. A quarter of a million automobiles and trucks spending an additional hour a day on the road will consume an extra gallon of gasoline each. You do the math.
Idling for 1 hour burns nearly 1 gallon of gasoline.
Perhaps those 250,000 only wasted a half a gallon of gasoline each, but the point is that time was wasted, passengers were left in the cold waiting for their buses and unnecessary environmental damage was incurred from the wasted fuel.
Maybe these costs do not show up in the city budget, but they are measured when we move outside the municipal silo.
Blog posts well worth reading by every city council before they decide that snow removal is not an essential service of government.