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Oberstar’s Call to “Rebuild America,” and Other Stimulus Notes

9:33 AM PST on January 12, 2009

Today on the Streetsblog Network, we're featuring a post from The Transport Politic
that analyzes Rep. James Oberstar's recent speech on transportation in
the stimulus bill to the House Democratic Steering and Policy
Committee. Oberstar spoke on his own "Rebuild America" proposal:

160px_Oberstarj.jpgRep. James Oberstar, D-MN

Importantly, unlike Mr. Obama thus far, Mr. Oberstar is willing to discuss providing funding for projects that are not yet ready for construction, but which are almost
there. In other words, while much of the talk on the economic stimulus
has revolved around getting projects started within 90 days, this bill
will provide for projects that will begin construction in 90 days or 1 year.
This is a significant factor in improving the climate for transit,
because while many road projects literally could begin construction
tomorrow (highway resurfacing is the most prominent example), there are
far fewer transit projects that ready — but given a timeline extension
of just a few months, they would be.… Such funding, for instance, could
pay for renovation of dozens of New York City subway stations, in
desperate need of repair, but which are not ready for construction in
the 90-day timetable.

Other network members are dissecting the stimulus proposals emerging from their own communities. In New Jersey, WalkBikeJersey laments:

There are 151 projects on this list. Where are the bicycle projects?
There are none. Pedestrian projects? About a half dozen. Most of the
projects are legitimate rehabilitation and transit projects but some
road widening projects are in there, including some mega intersection
widening that makes bicycling and walking very difficult.

Over at the National Journal's Transportation "Expert Blog," they're asking,"Does Earmark-Free Mean Pork-Free? Or Worthwhile?" Transit Miami has this to say on the subject: "Let’s hope Obama can tell the difference between the lechon and the pork."

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