Go Green, or Else

In another attempt to force Houstonians to “go green,” the city is about to expand its bike-sharing program, known as Houston B-cycle. The program allows individuals to rent a bicycle from thirty-one kiosks around the city. Over the next two years the program will expand to more than one hundred kiosks.

In announcing the expansion, Mayor Turner said:

The expansion of the B-cycle system will bring bike sharing into new neighborhoods and to new users. As I’ve said, we need a paradigm shift in transportation away from single-occupancy motor vehicles. Making cycling more accessible by building a strong bike sharing system is a critical component of that change.

This is certainly an interesting and innovative idea, and it seems feasible in high density areas such as downtown and the Medical Center. But like all of the city’s other ventures into the transportation business, it is heavily subsidized by taxpayers. Eighty percent of the funds for the expansion will come from a federal grant.

Like light rail and the bus system, those who don’t use B-cycle will be forced to subsidize the transportation expenses of others.

“Increasing access to bikes provides Houstonians with a sustainable, environmentally-friendly mode of transportation that also improves public health,” Mayor Turner said. “These grant funds provide a way to expand access while minimally affecting the City’s budget.”

It may have a minimal impact on the City’s budget, but what about the budgets of the taxpayers who are forced to fund this program and others of its sort? They are the ignored victims of the city’s “go green” mandates.

This isn’t the first time the city has forced Houstonians to “go green.” As one example, in 2010 the city began requiring residents to use biodegradable bags for disposing of yard waste. Those who don’t use city approved bags face fines up to $2,000. As another example, in 2014 City Council ordered all new residential construction to exceed the energy efficiency requirements under the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code by 15 percent.

No matter your own thoughts and values, you will be forced to jump aboard the environmentalist bandwagon. And you will be forced to pay for the “environmentally-friendly” horses pulling it. You will go green, or else.

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