New Highways 'A Catastrophic Choice'

Alex Steffen of WorldChanging looks at the Obama administration's moves towards funding more highways, the appointment of Ray LaHood, and argues that we can do much better.

"This administration's combination of new politics and new funding sources is a one-time shot, and it's coming at a moment when we can't afford to lose another decade if we want to stave off climate change, make the U.S. energy independent, revitalize our communities and create the bright green economy of the future.

At this critical juncture, nothing could be a worse investment than building more highways. New highways are simply a catastrophic choice. Even highway expansion is a waste of money: you can't build your way out of a traffic jam. As you pave more lanes, more drivers crowd on to them -- for instance, after spending $15 billion on its Big Dig highway expansion Boston's traffic is worse, overall. Building more highways just means more people driving, more cars stuck in traffic, more people killed in accidents, and more pollution.

The last part -- pollution -- is critical. A highway-focused federal transportation agenda can't be reconciled with the incoming administration's promise to take on climate change. Building new highways to provide mobility is the transportation equivalent of building new coal plants to provide energy."

Full Story: Ray LaHood and Changing our Thinking About Transportation

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