Editorial roundup

The Columbus Dispatch, July 4

Chances are the best parts of the day for most Columbus workers are not morning rush hour and evening rush hour. But it could be worse: Commuters here have the shortest drive time of just about any other large metro area in the U.S.

The Dispatch, as part of the “Fractured Framework” national reporting project, found that the longest leg of a Columbus commute typically takes a bit more than 23 minutes. That’s nearly three minutes speedier than the national average …

That drivers here have it relatively easy, even with roadway construction and bad weather, isn’t such good news long-term: It has inhibited the development of better mass transit, which many urban planners see as the inevitable solution to congested roads.

Enjoy it now, because the Downtown gridlock, sluggish freeways and clogged feeder streets are coming. Planners expect another 500,000 people to call central Ohio home by 2050. Unless we prepare now, it could get ugly …

Public transit needs a push and a pull to develop as a solution to ease future roadway congestion. Downtown parking has to become pricier. Roads have to fill up and make driving more aggravating. And COTA has to find ways to move people more quickly and promote the benefits of transit, including improving the environment, saving money and having time to relax.

Online: http://bit.ly/1IYz2vT

The (Toledo) Blade, July 6

Charged with nourishing the world’s hungry, the United Nations World Food Program appears to be starving.

The agency, citing financial reasons, says it will cut the amount of food it distributes to 500,000 refugees in Kenya, putting them on a daily diet of 1,500 calories. These Oliver Twist-like rations are not confined to southern Africa …

President Obama’s proposed budget for next year slashes by $66 million the support it gives the U.S. Office of Food for Peace, an aid initiative that partners with the World Food Program. Anti-hunger advocates say the office’s budget should instead be increased from $1.4 billion to $1.75 billion.

The World Food Program can put its dollars to better use. Working in countries with high levels of corruption, its efforts have sometimes fallen prey to scams. In Syria, the agency has mistakenly doled out aid to people who did not qualify.

Still, the Obama Administration should reverse its planned cuts to the Office of Food for Peace, if only out of self-interest. Famine intensifies global conflict, placing greater strain on our Armed Forces.

More than 11 million people became refugees in the past year. This is not the time for Washington to lessen its commitment to international food aid.

Online: http://bit.ly/1HHja6y