House Democrats Would Increase Transit Spending, Still Spend More on Highways
Yonah Freemark details the federal transportation bill proposed this week by House Democrats that would spend $494 billion over five years.
The Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America (INVEST in America) Act would spend $319 billion highway projects, much more than the $105 million it would spend on transit. According to Freemark, that disparity casts doubt on the bill's bonafides as a climate change bill, as claimed by House Democrats.
The highway spending would, at least, represent a shift to the "fix it first" model preferred by many transportation planning and good government advocates, according to Freemark. The bill would also provide $49 billion in "local control" funding—"i.e., taking money away from roads-obsessed state DOTs, which would be a good thing."
After providing analysis of the increased grant funding the bill would make available for transit programs, Freemark's assessment is that the bill is an improvement over the current state of federal spending on transportation. The bill could pass the House, according to Freemark, but is unlikely to pass the Senate in its current form.