"Recovery Bill" Goes off the Rails
"The recovery bill unveiled last week contains several important steps in...key environmental areas. But...its transportation provisions are a major retreat.
The bill...would cut $2 billion proposed by [House Transportation Committee Chairman Jim Oberstar to help transit agencies provide service for growing ridership. This follows a 6.5 percent increase in transit use from 2007, the biggest in 25 years...We already trail the rest of the developed world in public transportation of every kind. Europe now plans to build thousands of new miles of rail lines, and China is adding a high-speed rail link between Hong Kong and Beijing. After eight years of malign neglect during the Bush administration, we now risk falling even further behind, when this kind of infrastructure is critical to both our economic efficiency and our ability to tackle global climate change.
In a problem with both versions of the bill, the highway investment isn't explicitly targeted to repair and maintenance of crumbling roads and bridges. That's indefensible...For any money spent on highways, the commonsense approach is "fix it first." Most of the transportation money will likely be spent on new highways, with a far worse energy impact."