Thursday, January 15, 2009

Stimulus: $30B for roads, $10B for transit


You'd think $10 billion extra for transit would have people cheering. Not so. The draft stimulus package details, released today, has three times as much money for roads and bridges as for non-automobile transport. And only a puny $1 billion for inter-city rail and an equally puny $1 billion for New Starts, which won't go far around the country.
The TransportPolitic blog here has a link to the pdf of the bill. This link takes you to a version of today's release, courtesy of Talking Points Memo.
Will the $30 billion for roads and bridges go for new construction or repairs? Hasn't been decided yet, apparently.
This TwinCities Streets for People blog notes that another chunk of stimulus money $31 billion, would go to modernize infrastructure with an eye to long-term energy savings, which might well include some transit projects.
Also note that a big chunk of the stimulus ($79 billion) is aimed to help states avoid service cuts, with the majority of that money aimed at education.

LaHood in trouble?
TransportPolitic also had this nifty tidbit about Transportation Secretary-designee Ray LaHood's background. "Today’s [Wednesday's] Washington Post broke the devastating news that just last year, Mr. LaHood sponsored $60 million of earmarks, at least $9 million of which went directly to campaign donors. $7.8 million of that money went to Caterpillar, a company from his district. "

(For Charlotte old-timers, the Post's story was written by former Charlotte-Observerite Carol D. Leonnig, who used to cover Mecklenburg county commissioners before moving to DC to cover, among other things, the Scooter Libby trial.)

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

There should be 100BILLION for roads and 50BILLION for transit.

Anonymous said...

There should be $0 for everything.

How is it one Bridge to Nowhere is a disgrace, but 1000 of them is "stimulus"?

Rick said...

Well, the 3-1 ratio says a lot about where the nation's priorities are, which for once is right where they should be...

So, lets look at how the transit requests from Charlotte stack up to these numbers...

LYNX Blue Line Enhancements - $110M for the brand new South Corridor to basically extend the station platforms back to the originally planned 300 feet. These platforms were shortened to save money when the line started to blow its budget. Prediction: Iffy at best with a $50 billion national backlog of repairs, only $2 Billion allocated to address them, and Charlotte's asking for 5% of that.

Bus Purchase - $30 million for buses. Prediction: Much better since there's "$6 billion to purchase buses and equipment needed to increase public transportation and improve intermodal and transit facilities" in the proposed plan rather than the puny amounts for trains.

Transp. Center Rehab - $25 million. Prediction: Well, $6 billion for buses and related facilities vs $1 Billion for new trains...

N. Davidson Maint. Fac.- $25 million. Prediction: Ditto.

North Corridor Commuter Rail project - $30 million. Prediction: $1 billion for new rail projects and "the Federal Transit Administration has $2.4 billion in pre-approved projects." The North Corridor isn't one of those pre-approved projects. Doubtful, but who knows. That money is mostly for road crossing upgrades I believe, so that might fall under roads.

Park and Ride Lots - $10 million. Prediction: Probably pretty good I'd bet simply because these are easy to get started and the South Corridor is short of parking.

Ironic that isn't it that the most realistic train-related item is actually for a parking lot for cars? Also, the best bets for transit seem to be bus related - which rely on roads.

Huh, kinda funny...

James Willamor said...

Anonymous said: "There should be $0 for everything.

How is it one Bridge to Nowhere is a disgrace, but 1000 of them is 'stimulus'?"

Maybe you didn't hear about I-35 Minneapolis bridge collapse in 2007? Or do you count that as a "bridge to nowhere" as well?

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Anonymous said...

What is the $/vehicle vs. $/transit riders?

tajblues said...

MARY IS A JOURNALIST, CALL YOUR CONGRESSMAN! DO YOU KNOW WHO THEY ARE? THEY ARE THE FOLKS IN WASHINGTON WHO MAKE DECSIONS SUCH AS THESE. This isn't about the idea of one person. It is an opportunity to pump some money into a flailing economy to fix an ancient infrastructure system.

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Jumper said...

I know, a tax on square footage of blog comments!

Jumper said...

p.s. to Angerboy:
Yr a rage-aholic. Get help.

Jumper said...

Capital gains taxed at point of transfer. Import duty of 3.67% on imported manufactured goods. Raise Social Security flatline level. Raise top income tax bracket rate. Legalize offshore gas drilling with 10% increased lease rates. Place diesel and gasoline tax on percentage basis, not pennies per gallon basis.