To the Daily:
I commend Brian Hurd’s astute reasoning in his viewpoint on Monday (G.I. Joe deserves a beer, 12/07/2009). He nicely outlines the principal problem behind lowering the drinking age: That states’ hands are tied if they want to pave their roads.
I have an idea for disentangling the drinking age from highway funding, though it would admittedly take some aggressive lobbying of Washington. Have all states announce their intention to lower the drinking age back to 18 by 2020. Each state’s highway funding budget is cut by 10 percent, but the federal government can use that extra revenue to form a fund that provides grants, tax incentives and low interest loans for states to develop robust public transportation infrastructure. We can call it the “Let Our Roads Grow Potholes, but At Least We Can Drink Without Having to Drive Act,” which will create the “Beer for Buses (and Trains) Fund.” An alliance between advocates of lowering the drinking age and advocates of developing better public transportation would be far more than just a marriage of convenience. It could be a symbiotic relationship that creates just enough synergy to actually get something done.
Maybe Michigan could even be the pilot state. The bidding war that could result between developers who want to construct the infrastructure might attract businesses and perhaps even provide a much needed job surge.
Come on people. Let’s get creative.