‘Highway Boondoggles’ Report Highlights Nation’s Most Wasteful Projects

The bipartisan infrastructure law, which directs massive investments to state transportation projects, could fast-track some of the most destructive highway expansion projects.

2 minute read

September 15, 2022, 10:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Highway Construction

Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock

In part one of an annual series from the Public Interest Research Group titled “Highway Boondoggles,” James Horrox, Bryn Huxley-Reicher and Matthew Casale of Streetsblog describe how the federal infrastructure bill passed last November could accelerate some of the worst, most wasteful highway expansion projects.

“The federal dollars made available through the infrastructure deal could be spent on fixing our aging roads, making our streets safer, and making it easier to travel on transit, by bike or on foot, giving Americans real, viable options for getting around without having to drive,” the article notes. However, “across the country, state and local governments continue to move forward with tens of billions of dollars’ worth of new and expanded highways that do little to address today’s real transportation challenges, while diverting funding from much-needed infrastructure repairs.” The authors list the many harms of highway expansion, including increased congestion over time, wasted resources, harmful emissions, and displacement of communities.

Although the Biden administration has expressed its “preferences” toward maintenance and multimodal projects, decisionmaking ultimately rests with state agencies. The authors include a list of suggestions for policymakers, such as investing in reducing automobile dependence and reorienting transportation funding to maintenance and repair.

In future installments, the authors will describe the seven highway projects that made the cut as this year’s Highway Boondoggles. You can also read the full report here.

Monday, September 12, 2022 in Streetsblog USA

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