There is a certain happiness sighted when your bus comes along. It is of course a small specialized form of happiness and will never be a great thing.

-Richard Brautigan, The Old Bus

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Stimulating transit and safety, not sprawl

Last week, the House passed its $819 billion version of the "Economic Recovery Act." In the Senate this week, New York Sen. Charles Schumer is pushing to add another $6.5 billion for mass transit to the $819 billion U.S. economic stimulus package, calling buses, subways and trains the “lifeblood” of the nation’s biggest city. But the highway lobby is pushing back.

The San Francisco Streetsblog has post detailing how California Sen. Barbara Boxer is being pressured to boost highway expansion projects. Rather than resist, she is apparently considering handing the highway lobby the purse holding $5.5 billion discretionary fund for transit projects.

Here are the priorities that should guide decisions on where to spend transportation money:

  1. Give preference to projects that reduce vehicle miles traveled, like transit, bike or pedestrian projects.
  2. Fast Track Highway Safety projects that improve efficiency and reduce congestion, like bridge maintenance and improved signalization.

1 comment:

heartensoul4u said...

Maybe we should appeal to Tiger Team Leaders for a focus on transit funding:

USDOT organizes team to oversee economic stimulus spending
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood recently created a team within the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) that will coordinate and oversee the transportation portion of any enacted economic recovery programs.

Staffed with USDOT operating and administrative officials, the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) team will identify and prioritize key transit rail, highway, bridge, aviation and intermodal spending. The group also will ensure funding is rapidly made available for transportation infrastructure projects and develop reporting standards to accurately track money as it's spent.

In addition, the USDOT's chief economist and Performance Management Office will coordinate with the Office of Management and Budget and other White House departments to review performance measures that will be used to track job creation and other measurements designed to assess the impact of each infrastructure investment.

The TIGER team will be co-chaired by Deputy Assistant Secretary for Budget and Programs Lana Hurdle and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy Joel Szabat.

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