Connecting economic competitiveness & transportation funding

Jul 6, 2011


The Daily Measure recently featured a video clip highlighting a debate on the region’s short- and long-term transportation priorities. The debate centered on whether we as a region should focus on increasing capacity and reducing our infamous traffic congestion by building more roads or by investing in transit and other alternative modes of transport. Whichever side you fall on in such a debate funding is essential to achieve your goals.

However as The Washington Post is reporting the House of Representatives’ transportation bill likely to be unveiled this week is expected to slash overall spending on transportation by nearly a third. This comes despite multiple warnings from experts that we must start to increase spending (quite substantially) on transportation in order to create jobs and to become more economically competitive.

Other countries seem to grasp this logic more solidly than we do at the moment. China France Germany and Brazil among others are prioritizing spending on current- and next-generation transportation (from trams and trolleys to bus rapid transit to intercontinental high-speed rail) with the goal of making their countries more economically viable in the 21st century.

The House bill isn’t the final say – the Senate will soon put forward its own bill and the President put forward a robust transportation proposal earlier this year. We’ll have to see if in the end the experts’ advice will be heeded – economic growth and competitiveness should be nonpartisan objectives.

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