Floridians Fleeing Irma Slowed by Gridlock, Too Many Cars Headed Out at Once

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By Joe Guzzardi

Joe is a CAPS Senior Writing Fellow whose commentaries about California's social issues have run in newspapers throughout California and the country for nearly 30 years. Contact Joe at joeguzzardi@capsweb.org, or find him on Twitter @joeguzzardi19.

The writer's views are his own.

September 8, 2017
Florida traffic
FL. Gov. Scott: Hurricane could have “life-threatening impacts
from coast to coast.

CAPS blog has previously made the connection between overpopulation, overcrowding, and the increased difficulty rescue crews endure when they try to do their jobs during natural disasters---protect people and their property.

In July, during one of California’s annual wildfire outbreaks, CAPS noted that as the state’s population pushes toward 50 million in 2050, a 25 percent increase from today’s 40 million, home construction has spread into more remote areas to accommodate growth.

Despite the safety risks relentless growth poses, data released last month showed that California single family residential housing starts rose 16 percent in 2017’s first six months compared to the same period last year. The six months through June 2017 puts California on a pace to exceed by ten percent 2016’s total single family residential housing starts.

In equally overcrowded Florida, Hurricane Irma has sent 650,000 locals packing up and seeking safety. A Florida official called it “the greatest evacuation in history.” The massive traffic jams associated with the evacuation, however, has complicated residents’ exodus.

Since the last full Census taken in 2010, the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach megalopolis has been one of the nation’s ten fastest-growing metro areas---population rocketed upward by a staggering 8.6 percent during the period--- and easily outstripped booming Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Phoenix.

The Miami area newcomers drive cars, of course, and the vehicles have made the region’s traffic the country’s seventh worst. As a result, when hurricane-threatened residents have literally to flee for their lives, bumper-to-bumper traffic creates gridlock, and slows or shuts down escape efforts.

In California and in Florida, immigration has been population growth’s primary driver. Encouragingly, President Trump has endorsed the new RAISE Act by Sens. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and David Perdue (R-GA), which would, over a decade, help America return to more traditional, lower immigration levels, 500,000 annually instead of the current one million. 

The legislation would also abolish the diversity visa lottery and return refugee admissions to historic 50,000 levels, the average over the last 13 years. Obama had proposed increasing the number to 110, 000 in FY 2017.

Please go to the CAPS Action Alert page here, and ask your Senators to support the RAISE Act.

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