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Otter: Transit fan?

Too bad the Legislature didn't pass the measure allowing for a vote on mass transit funding in the Treasure Valley. Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter told reporters this week he would have signed the bill into law. But, he wouldn't have voted for it at the ballot box.

Otter, who commutes every day by himself from his ranch in Star to the Statehouse, said there are "way too many people just like me" driving by themselves to work.

"I pass very few cars that have more than one or two people in them," he said. He said he's disappointed that when he drives into town, he passes two park-and-ride lots that have almost no cars in them.

Otter, who got used to walking about 20 minutes to the U.S. Capitol when he was a Congressman in Washington, D.C., said he rode the Metro trains there when it was too hot or too rainy. ("Snow didn't bother me," he added.) And he was impressed by the number of people using that system. "They had to shoehorn me into that thing," he said. "Every car was full."

Not so here in Idaho, where he said too many people prefer to drive themselves to work, himself included.

"I feel like coming to work when I like to come to work," Otter said. In his case that's often about 6 a.m., he said, and, "I'm not sure I could find anyone else to come to work with me at six in the morning."

Instead of building mass transit that people may not use, he said, perhaps companies should encourage more people to work at home a couple of days per week.

"We ought to figure out how we can get people to work at home," he said. "What makes people think people will ride rapid transit just because you built it?"