Highway Robbery: Congress Takes the Money and Runs on Transportation Bill
Transportation Bill is Long on Pork, Short on Solutions
WashingtonD.C. – As the massive $286 billion transportation bill rolls toward passage Congress has abdicated federal responsibilities to the states and rolled back critical protections for environmental and historic resources.
“This bill tosses fiscal restraint and environmental standards out the window,” said Colin Peppard, Transportation Policy Coordinator. “It is a waste of taxpayers’ money that was written by highway lobby.”
This 6-year bill is the largest in history, and contains approximately 5700 pet projects for members of Congress, at an estimated cost of more than $20 billion. These include the infamous “bridges to nowhere” in Alaska and other such pork barrel projects that do little to solve the real transportation problems that local officials face.
“This bill ignores the most pressing issues that mayors and town councils face in the future,” said Peppard. “Traffic, air and water pollution, energy efficiency and oil usage are now ‘someone else’s problem,’ while Congress can go home full of pork.”
At the same time, the bill offers communities few new ideas or solutions to help local officials deal with real problems.
“Congress is offering the same solutions it has for years – build more roads,” said Peppard. “Meanwhile, local officials are struggling to deal with the problems of the future.”
Unfortunately, the bill also rolls back critical environmental and public health provisions. These rollbacks significantly weaken the Clean Air Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and protections for parks, refuges, and historic sites. These laws have helped clean up our air and water, avoid damaging the most sensitive natural ecosystems, and saved such places as the French Quarter in New Orleans, Fisherman’s Warf in San Francisco, Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Overton Park in Memphis, Rock Creek Park in Washington, DC, and countless civil war battlefields.
“Transportation has a very large impact on public and environmental health,” said Peppard. “This bill moves us backward on both counts.”
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