It’s Weird That For Some, Having Choices Doesn’t Constitute Freedom

If you have a minute, this video is good for a laugh. In it, Independence Institute President Jon Caldara says the Colorado Department of Transportation has been “infected by mission creep.” How? By investing money in transit and bicycle infrastructure.

Caladra is referring to CDOT’s new regional bus service, Bustang, and Governor John Hickenlooper’s commitment to spend $100 million on making Colorado the most bikeable state in the country.

“So our governor has a wonderful plan to reduce traffic congestion — by taking away money for roads,” Caldara says sarcastically in the “Freedom Minute,” a feature posted on The Complete Colorado. It’s crazy how much wrong can be stuffed into one sentence, but Caldara does it effortlessly.

For one, the money committed to bettering the state’s bicycle network doesn’t take money away from roads, it adds to it. People on bikes use the same roads as people in cars.

Two, that money couldn’t have been spent on fixing potholes, as Caldara asserts. Most of the funds come from federal grants reserved for alternative transportation and air quality, and from lottery proceeds that would’ve otherwise been spent on protecting the state’s natural landscape — rivers, open space, and wildlife.

Three, taking cars off the road — not building more — is actually the only way to reduce traffic congestion long-term. Transit is a tool in that toolbox, so why wouldn’t CDOT invest in regional bus service?

The Independence Institute’s mission is “to educate citizens, legislators and opinion makers about public policies that enhance personal and economic freedom.” Caldara says he fights against “the coercive power of government to take from others and force their values on those who don’t share them.”

Caldara obviously loves freedom, but only on his own terms. Apparently transit and bike infrastructure, which give people the freedom to choose something other than a car, don’t make the cut.