The House of Representatives is starting work on the next big transportation bill this week, unveiling the proposed text Tuesday and marking it up today. For anyone interested in getting around without a car, the legislation holds nothing but bad news. It zeroes out funding for biking and walking infrastructure and cuts Amtrak’s budget by 25 percent, while lavishing care on cars and the highways that carry them using revenues from increased gas and oil drilling. The only silver lining is that it does not cut funding for mass transit.
The Republicans that control the House have never pretended to like alternative modes of transportation. But while the Senate’s bipartisan bill doesn’t scorn biking and walking and train-taking with quite the same verve, it still favors cars above all other forms of transportation. While Americans are moving towards a multi-modal transportation future, Congress is focused on shoring up a system designed in the 1950s to enable Cold War-era military movements and to please the auto industry. That system needs patching (its bridges, in particular), and fixing its creaking joints should, as Republicans promise, create jobs. But by prioritizing highways, the country is missing an opportunity to build a system that reflects the preferences and needs of today’s travelers.
An awesome article found via Atlantic Cities.
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