Stimulus package: Fire a bus driver now, hire a construction worker later?

StreetsBlog is taking the proposed stimulus bill to task:

It's stimulus package logic: Lay off a bus driver now and hire a construction worker in a couple of months or a year.

Congress and purported urbanist Barack Obama are fiddling with a 1950s-era stimulus package while America's transit systems burn. You name the city, and its transit system is falling off a financial cliff. In Denver, Minneapolis, New York, and dozens of other large and small cities, revenue is plunging from the sales and real estate taxes that transit depends on. So despite big increases in transit ridership, many transit providers are cutting service and even laying off drivers. Yet not one cent from the $825 billion stimulus package would protect America's bus and subway riders from massive service cuts and fare hikes.

To transit riders, environmentalists and anyone concerned with social justice, the stimulus package is political cognitive dissonance on an epic scale. . . .

It will take time for the economy and local government to digest and contract out billions in infrastructure spending. In contrast, local transit agencies can spend billions in stimulus aid quickly just by keeping existing bus and subway service operating.
MoBikeFed's analysis of MoDOT's initial list of proposed stimulus projects showed a similar bias--a huge amount for new or expanded highways and little to nothing for transit, bicycling, or walking.

(To MoDOT's credit around 50% of the road projects were for routine maintenance--maintenance that is too often deferred and neglected. But how about spending 90% of the money there rather than a mere 50%?)

Is it really in the national interest to spend a huge amount on new, bigger, faster highways--at a time when the number of miles driven is leveling off and even decreasing, and citizens everywhere are looking for real alternatives to more driving?

Agree? Disagree? Let us know by leaving a comment . . .

Join MoBikeFed's Advocacy Network

MoBikeFed is a statewide group of people like you, working together for better bicycling, walking, and trails in Missouri. When you join our advocacy network you receive occasional important advocacy alerts and bicycle, pedestrian, and trails news from around Missouri.

Working together we make a real difference! Join our advocacy network:

Want better bicycling and walking in Missouri?
We rely on the support of members like you.  Please join, renew, or donate today.