Frederick Douglass: To Fix the Problem, Address the Cause
The Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance today urged the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB) to adopt a Long Range Plan that improves the regional transportation framework and reduces congestion.
“During Black History month,” the Alliance said, it is “appropriate to remember and learn from the wisdom” of Frederick Douglass who said that solving a major problem requires attacking its core cause and that the longer that cause is ignored, the longer it will continue.
In his autobiography Douglass pointed out that the Union fared poorly early in the Civil War because it failed to attack the root cause of its dissolution i.e. slavery, sought to appease southern leaders, ignored black Americans who would fight for it and had a military that pursued losing strategies. Only adoption of the Emancipation Proclamation freeing the slaves and the appointment of General Grant changed Union fortunes.
Today, leaders charged with addressing regional transportation needs continue to ignore the root cause of our transportation problems – congestion — and the advice of area transportation professionals that the key to less congestion and better regional transportation is increased Potomac River crossing capacity, an upgraded Maryland Beltway, reliable Metro and similar investments. Instead leaders strive to appease those who seek to diffuse focus on congestion reduction “in favor a myriad of inadequate strategies.”
The Alliance added that land use, bicycle trails and sidewalks all play a role, but that all are local responsibilities that area governments are quite capable of handling without more TPB directives.
“Fix the framework, including Metro, and you markedly improve regional land use, air quality, security and a myriad of other problems, the Alliance said. “ Downplay congestion and fixing the greater framework as some urge, and the… (region) will continue to (experience) unacceptable congestion and travel times.”