Dissenting Voices on the Stimulus from Around the Web and Halls of Congress

The Streetsblog Network is
continuing to digest the draft of stimulus legislation that came out of
the House Appropriations Committee yesterday. We’re featuring a post
from Design New Haven that offers a pretty tough evaluation:

Despite
all the evidence that transit-oriented development creates jobs by
dramatically saving large numbers of people time and commuting
expenses, the stimulus bill seems more like it is shaping up to be a
recipe for oil company profits than for smarter growth in metropolitan
areas like New Haven.

Bottom line is that it appears that
Congress believes that highways should be expanded even as bridges
across the country continue to catastrophically fail and crumble; even
as families, children and senior citizens literally find it impossible to walk more than a couple of blocks in their own neighborhoods
due to the lack of proper pedestrian facilities; and even as many major
cities less than 30 miles apart — like Hartford, Waterbury and New
Haven — continue to have absolutely no viable mass transportation connections.

D000191.jpgRep. Peter DeFazio, D-OR

The Transport Politic continues its close coverage of the stimulus, excerpting a piece from the Wall Street Journal
that reports some Democratic members of the Transportation Committee
are considering an objection to the transport section of the bill. From
the WSJ:

Highways and Transit Subcommittee Chairman
Peter DeFazio (D., Ore.) suggested the committee draft a letter or
resolution to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi objecting to the transport
section of the stimulus
bill.

Rep. Oberstar suggested the committee “mobilize
those practitioners of infrastructure” at a hearing next week to
demonstrate the need to increase spending levels on shovel-ready
projects. “Then I think we make the move on the House leadership and
the incoming Obama administration,” he said.

  • Does anyone here know:

    The stimulus package bill that they are trying to push through Congress right now. . . is this just the short term bill that will fund those projects that can begin construction immediately? If so, is there going to be another bill in a year or so that injects more funding for other projects later down the line? I remember reading something to that effect, but it seemed pretty ambiguous at the time whether this current bill is the only planned stimulus package, or whether this is a pre-cursor to another stimulus package that’s still a year out.

    I’m asking because I know that both the California High Speed Rail project and the Purple Line extension would need a good amount of federal funding, and neither would get anything from this stimulus package being discussed right now because those projects are too early in their development. I know Sen. Kerry co-authored a bill to fund various high-speed rail projects throughout the country, and that CA HSR might get funds from that if it passes, but what about the purple line?

    Is there a path that is being pursued to get federal funding for these projects?

  • We’re so screwed. Both the right and left wing in this country bought into happy-motoring ideology as we crawled out of WWII.

    We’re on at least the 3rd generation of politicians who believe that their voters will kick them out of office for removing car entitlements from their “American Dream (R)”.

    All I see nationally is a continued blindness to the value of moving our economy away from automobile dependency. How many more miles of highway will we be using in the future – when we’ve run out of gas to fill our tanks?

    This is a horrible waste of money we don’t even have.

  • Mark

    @ David-

    I think the five-year transportation bill is up for renewal later this year (or maybe next year). That would be the place to look for funding longer-term projects like the Purple Line.

  • Mark and David – I heard a talk given by Congressman Earl Blumenhauer, and the transportation re-authorization is up some time this year.

    At least, that is what the congressman said.

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