Friday, December 26, 2008
Progress-Related Budget Activities
Via demoinesdem, WaPo on stimulus: "Rep. James L. Oberstar (D-Minn.), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, has circulated a 41-page memo seeking $85 billion worth of projects over the next two years. The largest chunk of that money, more than $30.2 billion, would go toward highway funds, while $12 billion would go to local public transportation funds. ... Smart-growth advocates are happy that the percentage of funds in Oberstar's proposal devoted to roads is not the 80-20 split in the current highway funding formula, but they still see a system tilting toward old-fashioned projects." And indeed it is. But then again, suburban and rural members outnumber urban members even in the House Democratic caucus, so unless your commuter rail projects go into a number of districts, rail is in trouble. But we're already up to 70-30, and that just Congress's first offer! With a little luck, the White House will want something closer to a 50-50 split, and we can compromise at 60-40, and dare Arlen Specter to vote against the SUPERTRAIN (with Franken winning, we just need one vote in the Senate).
Posted by Nick Beaudrot at 12/26/2008 06:33:00 AM
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What's funny is that commuter rail doesn't really do anything for city dwellers. In Seattle city dwellers would be better served with funds for tunnelizing the (auto-centric) viaduct than they would be by restoring the interurban trolley line's full glory from Everett to Auburn. But really everyone benefits from transit, even if they drive.
A good transit plan should be able to draw congressional support from the 1st, 2nd, 7th, 8th, and 9th, and even the 6th if we built a SUPERFERRY. The 3rd is already doing a lot of mass transit going into stumptown. That leaves Doc Hastings and Cathy Rodgers with no pork, and that's a good thing.
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