This article in the November 3 Los Angeles Times underscores the benefits of having a car:
For more than a century, efforts to help the disadvantaged have focused on education, healthcare, nutrition and housing. Almost nothing has been done to help the working poor afford cars, despite research that indicates it would help alleviate poverty.
About 1 in 4 needy U.S. families do not have a car, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation. That’s a serious handicap for the millions of Americans who don’t have access to robust mass transit.
A nationwide survey of 353 people who bought cars with help from a nonprofit group called Ways to Work found that 72% reported an increase in income. Of those who were on public assistance when they acquired a car, 87% were no longer receiving it a few years later.
Other studies have found that low-income people were more involved in community activities and had better access to healthcare after getting cars, while their children participated more frequently in after-school programs…
[Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.)] said she has faced resistance from, among others, environmental organizations that insist mass transit is a better solution.
“Public transit is not practical in Milwaukee where the wind chill can be 45 below and you have to drop three kids off at day care,” Moore said. “We really have a crisis with respect to getting people to their jobs.”
Smart Growth Winners (Rich People) and Losers (Other People)
Smart growth is great if you can afford to have everything you buy delivered, or are in excellent physical condition with a physically undemanding job; it is not so great if you have to come home from your shift at the nursing home to lug groceries a quarter-mile down the street, and then up three flights of stairs… Smart growth is great if you can afford taxis when you need them; it is not so good if you are forced to take three buses to get somewhere you really need to be…