Letter: Infrastructure priorities
When the federal highway system was completed in 1982 instead of reducing the gas tax that paid for this network, Congress spent much on bicycle trails, beautification projects and trains. Today, only 54 percent of the gas tax is spent on roads and bridge infrastructure. Now President Trump has proposed $1 trillion for infrastructure improvements.
Since our crumbling infrastructure has the attention of politicians the focus is on new highways, trains routes, and airport terminals to increase capacity and address different agendas. However, according to CATO, the federal transportation mission is not only focused on highways but it also discourages driving, focuses on air pollution and climate change, preventing urban sprawl and building expensive rail lines all to satisfy an environmental ideology.
Some infrastructure projects are worthwhile. However, reprioritizing federal transportation spending is necessary to increase more monies for roads and bridges; increasing our debt is not an obvious solution. We also need meaningful projects and not boondoggle commuter rail, sidewalks or other enhancement earmarks for political gain.
Public/private partnerships has merit but $30 tolls from New York to New Jersey shouldn't be an acceptable standard. We must also streamline the approval process and cut down the construction timeline from highway concept to "shovel ready" to less than 25 years.
The President has a bold initiative but we've learned from the past vast sums spent on infrastructure or green initiatives like Solyndra to stimulate the economy has rarely met desired expectations. You can't change the past but can influence the future with better judgement and discipline.
— Frank Mazur
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