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Special Guest Commentary by Rod Diridon Sr.

Editor's Note: This response to the New York Times article was submitted by Rod Diridon Sr., a past chair of APTA, member of the APTA Hall of Fame, past chair of the Transportation Research Board’s Transit Cooperative Research Program and past North American vice president of the International Association of Public Transport (UITP).

We’ve known since the beginning of the Tea Party movement that the flurry of well-funded, ultra-conservative, climate-denying, anti-transit campaigns has not been coincidental—and that is now borne out by irrefutable proof...front page, top left column in one of the world’s most credible news sources.

With climate change advancing much faster than projected (per the New York Times’ story on Antarctica last week), and the single most effective remedy being electric mass transit (rail or bus), this insidious and systematic attach by the Koch Brothers and their petroleum-at-any-cost supporters is immoral, selfish, legally opaque and ultimately terminal to humankind.

The height of conceit is when a business or family feels that it has the right to sell the last drop of oil or last lump of coal when independent scientists throughout the world universally warn us that those products are seriously and imminently threatening the viability of mammals on earth. As a society, we must take concerted action against the perpetrators of this atrocity. It’s not just dirty politics, it’s creating an unlivable, dirty planet...very quickly.

We represent the most respected transportation leaders in a broadly distributed network of communities. Let us use our reputations, leadership skills and fundraising capacities to catalyze the effectiveness of the League of Conservation Voters, Sierra Club and other organizations in each of our communities to successfully carry the right issues and elect the right representatives to make the needed changes, now!

I have four wonderful grandchildren who deserve a chance to live full, happy lives. Please help those babies and yours by counterattacking these terrible people and making them indelibly aware that the time for carbon fuel on earth has passed and the time for sustainable electric power is now! It’s not about jobs! Solar and wind create many more jobs, sustainably, than do petroleum and coal.

This is my prayer to each of you as a past chair of APTA, APTA Hall of Fame honoree, past chair of TRB’s Transit Cooperative Research Program and past North American vice president of UITP.

Honest science says we don’t have much time left. If the job isn’t done by us, then by whom?? If we don’t act now, science declares that in 15 to 20 years’ time it will be too late.

Those wonderful babies, as beleaguered young adults facing the end of a decent life on earth, will come to us and ask: “Mama, papa, back when you could still stop the cataclysm, did you do everything possible to save us?” What will you say...?
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