Gov. Talks Transportation Financing and Expansion on Meet the Press

This week Governor Schwarzenegger joined Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Meet the Press.  A partial clip of the Governor’s statement on transportation can be found above and the full segment can be viewed at the Meet the Press website; but for those at work, here’s what the governor had to say about traffic and funding after each politician’s opening statement:

Well I think that, as Governor Rendell has just mentioned, in the latest polls it shows that people are very interested in rebuilding America and they’re willing also to pay for it.  Look, everyone gets stuck in traffic.  There’s no reason we should get stuck in traffic.  I mean, what we have to do is have a plan in America to see how do we move goods and people around?  Is it through rail, through High Speed Rail, I’m a big believer in High Speed Rail.  Is it through roads?  Which direction should we go?

People want to move faster and companies want to move their goods much faster.  We want to upgrade all those things rather than being stuck with that.

After a question from David Gregory about possible financing of these projects, and specifically a gas tax, the governor responds:

I think it’s something to look at…that’s the next question: How do you finance all this?  I think the important thing is that there is a willingness amongst the people to pay for it.  It doesn’t all have to be done through public money.  We are talking about Public-Private Partnerships.  There are many companies that are interested in coming in and financing the High Speed Rail and other rail systems, light rail and so on.

First, it’s funny that the Governor can’t bring himself to say the words "gas tax" even when asked directly about it.  Second, as much as I agree that we need to improve America’s infrastructure, the Governor is missing the point that we need to reinvest in fixing our crumbling transportation infrastructure in addition to or before investing in massive expansion of infrastructure.  CALPIRG detailed why stimulus funds for Californians should be used to "Fix-It-First" and there’s no reason that a similar push shouldn’t be made to spend "regular" federal transportation dollars in the same way.

And last, Governor, I don’t get "stuck in traffic" very often because I don’t drive or ride in a car very often.  Don’t forget there’s a lot of us that have opted out of congestion either by biking or taking transit.  We deserve some of those federal transportation dollars too.

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