Political Chowder Ingredients: Facts, Events, Policy, Politicians, Journalists, and YOU
Political Chowder Ingredients:
Facts, Events, Policy, Politicians, Journalists, and YOU

This Week's "You"
Jan. 04, 2009
Letter from the Boston Globe
12/30/08

Transit priority

RE "TRANSIT funds present quandary for Obama" (Page A24, Dec. 19): Appropriately "the goal of the stimulus bill is to kick-start the economy with a wave of short-term public spending projects across the country."

However, as a transportation engineering expert and an adviser to the US Department of Transportation, I'm convinced it's false that "the quickest way to do that is to follow existing priorities" - roads and highways. Bringing roads and bridges to a state of good repair, not building new roads, should be a priority.

Research shows that transit spending creates more jobs than the same spending on new roadway construction. National studies show that every $1 billion communities invest in transit yields $6 billion in economic returns, creating 35,000 jobs.

Many ports are trying to invest in cleaner trucks and machinery. Stimulus money should also support diesel clean-up programs, replacing old trucks with new ones, installing and manufacturing filters, and helping truckers get the most advanced technologies.

Nationally, transportation accounts for 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming, and is the fastest-growing source of greenhouse gases. It's the nation's largest consumer of imported oil. Congress and states should focus stimulus spending on these clean air and energy independence measures to create more jobs than by building roads.

 

Michael A. Replogle, Transportation Director
Environment Defense Fund, Washington

 

YOU read this week by Arnie Arnesen