The gridlocked American dream

As policymakers perform a postmortem on the housing crisis, transportation costs are increasingly coming under scrutiny.

Blueprint America sent Need to Know correspondent John Larson to the car-dependent suburbs of Phoenix, Ariz., to learn about how transportation costs are making it harder for families to hold on to the American dream. Larson visited one family, for example, that rises at 4 a.m. and travels 120 miles to avoid the transportation costs of two cars.

 

Comments

  • Bzaffer

    I live in Phoenix and this life of traffic and cement can depress one at times. It is sad people just do not understand the consequences over over population and urban sprawl. To many just hide behind their religion that to me is part of the problem with subduing the planet. Makes no sense to me and is the root of poverty, immigration and many other social ills. It they would take the time to listen to new ideas their children would have a future. As it is their quality of life is not a planet I want to live on. Of course the planet will cleanse and does need our population cancer.

  • Bzaffer

    I live in Phoenix and this life of traffic and cement can depress one at times. It is sad people just do not understand the consequences over over population and urban sprawl. To many just hide behind their religion that to me is part of the problem with subduing the planet. Makes no sense to me and is the root of poverty, immigration and many other social ills. It they would take the time to listen to new ideas their children would have a future. As it is their quality of life is not a planet I want to live on. Of course the planet will cleanse and does need our population cancer.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=21309926 Nathan Attard

    Thank you for covering the issues of urban sprawl in a serious manner. It’s hard to believe that $1.4 billion was spent in Phoenix on a light rail line, though. Across the country, in more dense places, a higher ridership could be obtained with the same sort of investment. Maybe those communities can use the example of Phoenix in selling their light rail systems to residents and power brokers.

  • Anonymous

    commuting is the price you pay for living in a less populated area… we were doing this in the ’80′s with just one vehicle and renting. fuel tax is just another form of regressive taxation .. it usually hits those that can afford it the least.

  • common sense

    So they bought a home they couldn’t afford. Are we supposed to feel sorry for them? What happened to living within your means? I would love what from all appearances is a new home and appliances but I choose to stay in my small house with old appliances so I can sllep at night.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Robert-Burke/1100457279 Robert Burke

    The problem is self perpetuating; because we are building new subdivisions, without a
    major transportation hub. The transportation hub to move people from their homes to
    their jobs, should be the center of an urban area, not an afterthought. A person should
    be able to leave their home and walk to a pickup point not more than a few hundred feet
    away and be transported to a nexus, that will transport them into town or to their job and
    deliver them back to home.

    The main point being, that the transportation hub comes first, then the subdivision is built
    around it, not it after the subdivision. The trend has to be reversed or face more grid locks
    in urban development.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Robert-Burke/1100457279 Robert Burke

    This problem is self perpetuating; because we are building new subdivisions, without a
    major transportation hub as its centerpiece. The transportation hub to move people from their homes to their jobs, should be the center of any urban development area, not an afterthought.

    It will be up to the developer to incorporate this into their planning; before even turning over any dirt, to build homes for consumers. It they can’t do this, then they should be denied permits for development.

    A person should be able to leave their home and walk to a pickup point; not more than a few hundred feet away and be transported to a nexus, that will transport them into town or to their job and deliver them back to home.

    The main point being, that the transportation hub comes first, then the subdivision is built around it, not it after the subdivision. This trend has to be reversed or face more grid locks in urban development.

  • Mschaffer11

    Dennis Web of Fulton Homes laughs at the thought of subsidized light rail transportation but does not acknowledge that the roads, sewer, water, and electricity his projects require are all subsidized as well. Since he believes in the freedom to build let him pay the full costs of upgrading infrastructure to his projects.

    I would also note that his 4,000 square foot house for $234,000 is before interest on the mortgage, taxes, and utility costs so it is, at best, a misleading figure. Throw in automobile transportation costs and let the buyer start to make an apples to apples comparison of real costs.

  • Anonymous

    This whole debate comes down to three parts of the American dream.
    Private enterprise buys land and builds houses and sells them and makes a lot of money. Rules regulations very few and mainly on construction standards and basic services like gas elec and water supply and sewage disposalO other environmental concerns zero!!
    Then its the old $1.25 a gallon when it did not matter to travel 50 miles to and from work every day.
    Now it almost $3 and rising, rising.
    Even the exurbs are the same no consideration of the Infrastructure of transportation or parking. Parking is just another profit business, not a convenience like at your Walmart etc which is what it should be if we all own cars!!
    Think of it you could give subsidies to train stations, bus stations, Light rail hubs to provide parking free and then let them sell the carbon emiision savings to other industries that emit too much. Ok our tivket price may rise but lesst than the gas cost of the distance and downtown parking costs.
    Regards,
    Guest 5

  • theresa

    They bought a home they could afford and ended up with transportation costs they couldn’t. Transportation costs in the United States have sky rocketed over the last few years, forcing a lot of people into foreclosure. Not just new home buyers. Even fiscally conservative people have been hit hard by the costs of transportation.

  • PhxRes87

    Okay, Queen Creek was a town, or at least settlement area, BEFORE the metro area grew out to it. It is not a suburb as the video says.

    Now, if he worked at the hospital that is just eight miles away instead of the one 40 miles away, and if she worked at ASU East, just five miles from their home, they wouldn’t “spend” 120 miles each day. They are choosing their home and job location. They have a choice. They are making bad choices. The issues raised are real, but they are not being forced to live or work where they do. While transportation issues are real, in this case, the facts are being twisted a bit to promote the story. We chose to work near our home, bought in a location that maximized that ability, and found a child provider nearby, also. My family’s commute costs are significantly less than theirs. It is about choice.

    Our government, however, should be working to provide choice, not dictate it. Instead, they listen to the nighborhoods (voters) and pass zoning regs against density, against transportation solutions, against employment near homes, against a less costly lifestyle. The same people now complaining are the ones who ask for and get what they asked for!