Mayoral Op-Ed: U.S. Needs to Play Catch-Up on Transportation

Mayors Bill de Blasio of New York and Mick Cornett of Oklahoma City say federal dollars are the only way to restore crumbling infrastructure. China and Europe are investing heavily, while U.S. rates are at a 20-year low.

1 minute read

May 18, 2015, 10:00 AM PDT

By Philip Rojc @PhilipRojc


Pothole Car

State Farm / Flickr

Rates of federal transportation spending have long been on a downward trajectory. This week's Amtrak fatalities, whatever their root cause, highlight a troubling fact: "Spending on infrastructure in the United States has sunk to 1.7 percent of gross domestic product, a 20-year low."

Cornett and de Blasio say a failure to invest puts America further and further behind. "The Department of Transportation estimates that by 2030, it will cost $84 billion to $105 billion a year just to keep the highway, bridge and transit systems in good repair, and up to $170 billion a year to improve conditions and performance. Meanwhile, the rest of the world races ahead. Europe spends 5 percent of G.D.P. on infrastructure, and China 9 percent."

The mayors, speaking on behalf of a bipartisan coalition of their peers, conclude by "calling on Congress to pass a six-year transportation authorization measure that significantly increases investments from the current level of $50 billion a year."

Wednesday, May 13, 2015 in New York Times

View of Mount Hood at golden hour with Happy Valley, Oregon homes in foreground.

Clackamas County Votes to Allow ADUs, Residential RVs

County officials hope the zoning changes will help boost the housing supply in the region.

June 18, 2024 - Mountain Times

Single-family homes in a suburban neighborhood in Florida.

New Florida Law Curbs HOA Power

The legislation seeks to cut down on ‘absurd’ citations for low-level violations.

June 16, 2024 - The Guardian

Aerial view of intersection in New York City with yellow cabs and zebra crosswalks.

Planners’ Complicity in Excessive Traffic Deaths

Professor Wes Marshall’s provocatively-titled new book, "Killed by a Traffic Engineer," has stimulated fierce debates. Are his criticisms justified? Let’s examine the degree that traffic engineers contribute to avoidable traffic deaths.

June 13, 2024 - Todd Litman

Digital drawing of person holding city skyline with wifi symbols and lines indicating smart cities or data.

Cities Awarded for Data-Driven Projects

The What Cities Works Certification recognizes cities for using data to solve real problems.

6 hours ago - Smart Cities Dive

The Basilica of St. Joseph in San Jose, California.

Faith-Based Housing Movement Grows

More churches and municipalities are saying ‘Yes in God’s Backyard.’

7 hours ago - Vox

Close-up of red and white BUS LANE sign painted in street lane.

Why BRT Can Benefit Cities More Than Rail

Bus rapid transit lines offer a less expensive, quicker-build alternative to rail that can bring other infrastructure improvements with it.

June 21 - Governing

City Planner I

Department of Housing and Community Development

City Planner II

Department of Housing and Community Development

City Planner Supervisor

Department of Housing and Community Development

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.