Normally I don’t dig into national politics here, but the US House is considering a rotten Transportation Bill, aka The Energy and Infrastructure Act [pdf], which has drawn a lot of fire from environmental, smart growth, and transportation advocates.
- Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood told Politico it’s the “worst transportation bill I’ve ever seen” – and that’s after 35 years in politics.
- A New York Times editorial Thursday called the House Transportation Bill “uniquely terrible” and runs down the bill’s most worst offenses. The bill eviscerates public transit funding, cuts environmental reviews for projects, and does little to address the nation’s crumbling infrastructure.
- Although the bill is touted as responsible belt-tightening, NRDC reports that the the Congressional Budget Office finds the bill’s funding schemes for transportation are too uncertain to be reliable. NRDC also notes it’s entirely hostile to non auto modes of transportation.
I’m particularly repulsed because the House bill links transportation funding with increased offshore drilling and exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The thinking is a stunning circular logic: Drill more for oil so Americans can keep driving cars, which means that our highways should be prioritized for improvements and funding, which we’ll pay for by drilling for more oil.
Pay attention, here, folks. Yesterday was a national call-in day of opposition to the bill but it’s not too late to make like the good folks at Transportation for America and contact your reps.