Mass transit could be vital to Eudora’s future
Four years ago as the nation responded to the shock of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, there were myriad calls to reduce the country's dependence on foreign oil. As it turned out, those calls amounted to little more than a drunk's vow for sobriety while in torments of a hangover. The Sept. 11 attacks had many consequences, but conservation wasn't one of them.
Once again, a shock is forcing us to another round of awareness. This time there is a legitimate chance for real change. Simply put, the marketplace has changed and many of us can no longer fuel our daily commutes in vehicles that pick our pockets when gas prices rise to near $3 a gallon. Sales of less fuel efficient vehicles such as SUVs are declining and there is greater demand for hybrid cars.
Another indication of change is increased interest in mass transit. Ridership is up with the gas price hikes that followed Hurricane Katrina.
One can find plenty of predictions that this year's gas shortage is the start of a trend. The phrase "peak oil" has been given to the view that the world's oil production has reached the top of its bell curve and is sliding into a slow, steady decline.
Peak oil's true believers see a pessimistic future for communities like Eudora. There is no place for bedroom communities linked to metropolitan areas by freeways, the view hold.
One doesn't have to share this bleak outlook to recognize that mass transit could be important, indeed vital, to Eudora's future. Fortunately, Johnson and Douglas counties in cooperation with the Kansas Department of Transportation will explore offering commuter bus service along the K-10 Corridor this year.
A transit route from Johnson County to Lawrence makes sense with student populations moving both ways along the corridor and the many commuters driving daily to their jobs.
The effort deserves the support of local governments and the business community. We hope the far-sighted among them strongly advocate for the commuter route and the opportunities it offers Eudora.