Saturday, May 9, 2009

Urban highways are expensive

Planetizen links to an article in the Detroit Free Press about a new report:
A third of major U.S. interstates and major highways are in poor or mediocre condition, but it’s a particular problem in urban areas with populations of 250,000 or more, said the report by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and the road advocacy group TRIP.
The groups are using the study as ammunition to get federal lawmakers to significantly increase spending in the next six-year federal highway bill, which Congress will begin debating this summer. AASHTO is pushing for an increase in federal spending from $286 billion to $470 billion in the next highway bill.

Or maybe we should realize that roads are an inefficient way to move people and goods, particularly in urban areas, and stop throwing good money after bad. How's about we tear down all the highways in poor or mediocre condition and spend that $185 billion on train tracks?


W. K. Lis said...

Paraphrasing from

Transit, cycling, and walking get better the more people do it — when more people take transit, it becomes more viable and service can become more frequent, while when more people walk, walking feels safer and therefore more people want to walk. The same is true of cycling.

With cars, on the other hand, the more people drive, the more congestion you get and the less effective and attractive driving is.

BruceMcF said...

And most of the damage is done by trucks and other heavy vehicles. So shifting as much truck freight as possible to road freight would not only represent energy savings equal to a substantial share of our total petroleum imports, but also offer substantial fiscal relief to pressed state and local government budgets.

CityLights said...

Did the report say why urban highways are in poor condition? Is it because urban areas are underfunded in general, whether it comes to utilities, transportation, or other quality of life issues?

Cities should have the choice to either spend their allocation on highways or toll the highways and spend the federal money on transit instead (and the toll money on roads).

Allan said...

Actually, if biking infrastructure doesn't keep up with demand, more bikers can lead to worse conditions. check this out: