Robert Cruickshank has a great piece on the CAHSR blog picking apart a recent Washington Post article on where the stimulus is going. Both are definitely worth a read, but in summation, current priorities seem to be on repairs and road projects that can be started immediately. And as the Post points out, money is being distributed through the conventional channels: state DOT’s and local transit agencies. There’s no impetus to invest in more regional solutions such as rail infrastructure (at least the way DOT’s are organized these days).
In many ways, this is understandable. The priority right now is creating jobs, which means getting shovels in the dirt. If that’s limited to roads, bridges, and a handful of narrow local transit projects right now, that’s fine. What’s not okay is if this is where it stops. If Washington and the new Obama administration will look at this after two years and say “Good, we’ve fixed our infrastructure,” then that’s a shame. And that’s why we must continue to keep the pressure on.
And well, Obama hasn’t even been inaugurated yet. I hope we’re not becoming jaded too early.