This post originally appeared on Orphan Road.

The stimulus being debated in Congress right now isn’t the be-all and end-all of the Democrats’ transportation plans.  The real stuff, as I’ve said before, will come with the reauth of the SAFETEA-LU act later this year.  The Transport Politic lays out what it might look like.  

The biggest deal here is a change in the cost-effectiveness metric used to award transit capital grants.  As I understand it (somebody I’m sure will correct me if I’m wrong), the current metric doesn’t account for things like transit oriented development or the other ways in which rail transit has been proven to bring in new riders. But that may change, and that would be huge.

Combine that with the Dodd-Hagel infrastructure bank and you’ve got the makings of a kick-ass federal transit development program.  

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