Transportation For America has a fairly depressing list of “ten key things to know about the new transportation law”.

  1. Incentivizing costly new construction, making repair optional.
  2. Steps toward accountability for performance, but few teeth.
  3. A false promise of “flexibility”.
  4. Less money, but more local control, to make streets safer for all users.
  5. Continued funding of transit “New Starts” projects
  6. More capacity to borrow, but less to innovate.
  7. Transit stays in the trust fund, with more accountability for repair and safety.
  8. Multiple changes to environmental and citizen review, with unpredictable impact.
  9. For rural communities, a seat at the table and a focus on the most dangerous roads.
  10. Tolling for new interstate lanes and HOV sleight-of-hand, and an emphasis on public-private partnerships.

It’s not all bad, but it’s a lot of bad, and I’ll leave it to T4A to fill you in on the details.

29 Replies to “Ten Keys on New Federal Transportation Law”

  1. We need more suburban highways. It will make transit better. If this bill funds new exurban roadbuilding out side the downtowns then it is a good thing.

    1. We’ve been building lots of suburban highways for decades. Has it made transit better or worse?

      1. Name one new major roadway, or one roadway that was upgraded in class (like a state route to an Interstate, or a boulevard to a limited access highway) built since 1990 in Western Washington?

      2. I love 18. I’m not sure if was really upgraded in class (did they get rid of that one traffic light in the middle of nowhere)…but really that is the sort of road that should be an Interstate.

        We need a tunnel through the Cascades. Highway 2 should become an Interstate.

        We need another ring about Seattle ( I-605 ).

      3. So John’s solution is to further choke the region, kill competitiveness, increase commute times, further bankrupt WSDOT’s maintenance fund and increase highway spending astronomically, cause excessive degradation of whatever remaining natural environment and farming is left in King County, Pierce County, Kitsap County, and Snohomish, increase the cost of basic public services (fire, schools, police), increase obesity and health costs, reduce safety for non-motorised road users, kill business, starve transit, and get free highways? Did I miss something?

      4. You missed pollution, CO2/global warming, energy independance, and our region’s ability to recover when peak oil hits. I won’t even go into the isolation and decreased socialization of sparse living, since that goes directly to Bailo’s dream.

      5. Road tunnels are *not efficient*. If you want a new mountain tunnel, make it a rail tunnel; you can always ferry cars across on an auto-train.

      6. Projects on SR 520 and SR 522 spring to mind. Both have had boulevard-like sections expanded to limited-access since 1990. There’s more than that, I’m sure.

      7. So John’s solution is to further choke the region, kill competitiveness, increase commute times, further bankrupt WSDOT’s maintenance fund and increase highway spending astronomically, cause excessive degradation of whatever remaining natural environment and farming is left in King County, Pierce County, Kitsap County, and Snohomish, increase the cost of basic public services (fire, schools, police), increase obesity and health costs, reduce safety for non-motorised road users, kill business, starve transit, and get free highways? Did I miss something?

        Yes, you did miss something: The track record of the Portland rail network.

        1. All of Portland metro’s net job growth has happened out of reach of their rail network. Yup, 100% of it.

        2. Even in the city of Portland, which has the highest density and concentration of rail, the percentage of commutes to work via transit it no higher than it was in 1998.

        Not that Seattle’s stupid, hypocritical yuppie “progressives” ever once cared about facts or reality.

    2. In short. Absolutely not. I can’t think of a bigger waste of dollars now and poor investment in the future. End the madness. Kill the Cross-Base Highway. No SR-167 extension. Stop the I-405 expansion. No North Spokane Expressway.

      1. Turn East Valley Highway into an Interstate.

        Improve the 405 interchange(s).

        Get rid of all HOT lanes and convert back to regular lanes.

      2. “Turn East Valley Highway into an Interstate.”

        That would be a great use of money, build a new freeway less than a mile from an existing parallel freeway.

      3. Turn East Valley Highway into an Interstate.

        Making new Interstates is very hard at this point. The system was officially proclaimed to be complete in 1992. The only new Interstates now are ones that have been in the pipeline since before the 90’s (like the 485 ring highway around Charlotte, NC), projects that link discontinuous sections (like 95 in Pennsylvania), and links that very strongly serve the mission of the Interstate Highway System (like the 69 extension to Indianapolis, to give the inland South and lower midwest a shorter Interstate route to Canadian border crossings in Michigan).

  2. Number 1 is pretty disappointing considering we have massive maintenance shortfalls already for infrastructure across the board let alone expansion. The others don’t seem egregious on the face of it, but it’s all rather disheartening as bill. On the other hand, we honestly could have done a whole lot worse. It is what it is… :-/

  3. Just put the plan together and let us vote on it.

    A good roads plan will pass at the ballot box.

  4. On the optimistic side, perhaps #4 and #9 will help with our suburban and semi-rural sidewalk projects, and with keeping the roads narrow so as to discourage cars from speeding.

  5. I especially approve of #4, because it cuts “Transportation Alternatives” funding by one-third, and allows states to seize half of allocations and zero out crap like bike facilities.

Comments are closed.