Monday, February 09, 2009

What, exactly, should US be stimulating?

Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., at the N.C. State Emerging Issues Forum made cogent arguments for not just aiming for "shovel-ready" projects but "future ready" projects. He also pointed out (as if you hadn't heard) that the nation's infrastructure got graded mostly a D by the American Society of Civil Engineers. Where's the leadership for transformative projects, he asked, akin to the Erie Canal or the first transcontinental railroad, rural electrification or the interstate highway system?

For North Carolinians, two key points: He lavishly and extensively praised Charlotte's transit system, especially the way the city created incentives for transit-oriented development.

AND, he mentioned an idea from a Connecticut constituent: Build a high-speed transcontinental rail corridor from Long Beach, Calif., to Wilmington, N.C. That certainly got the attention of the North Carolinians in this room!

He pitched a major rail initiative – connecting the nation's major urban areas with high- or higher-speed rail – and let Detroit build the rail cars and buses the nation will need to refocus its transportation system to a more inclusive one – i.e., not just highways.

He pitched a National Infrastructure Bank, to create a new funding stream and competitive process. As it is, transportation in America is basically carried out by 50 states with 50 different plans.

In 2007, 10 billion trips were made on public transit. Yet the U.S. DOT pays for some 80 percent of new highway construction while less than half for new transit projects, and getting approval for new transit projects is "brutally different."


Anonymous said...

So question to Mr. Dodd is: " Why only 5% of the entire bill goes to infrastructure?"

Rev. Mike said...

Here's a different question entirely: what do we intend to do for economic stimulus when these projects are over and these same people don't have jobs any longer? Make up more stuff for them to work on with more made up money?

Anonymous said...

I haven't been around the rail line from SouthEnd out to Woodlawn in a long time. How is the progress to all that transit oriented development?

Anonymous said...

Mary, Where is the money going to come from?

Yoo hoo...


Why won't you answer one simple question?