Wiki Wednesday: Transit and the Stimulus

obama_train.jpgPost-stimulus, will this analogy still seem fitting?

Today we’ve got a work in progress started by Livable Streets member Adina Levin, who’s tracking the status of transit funding in the stimulus bill. The entry’s a little skeletal at the moment, but once it fills out, this should be one of the more significant additions to StreetsWiki. Keeping up with the twists and turns of this bill — its different iterations and the people behind those changes — could make this a valuable reference as the current legislation takes shape, and as debate ramps up over the big transportation reauthorization later this year.

Thanks to Adina for taking the initiative and kicking things off. If Streetsbloggers want to add a bit of narrative about how we got to this point — a draft bill that shortchanges transit and imposes little oversight on highway spending — any member of the Livable Streets Network can edit the entry, and joining is a cinch. There should be plenty to add soon enough. The House Transportation Committee meets at 10 tomorrow morning, and transit funding in the stimulus figures to be high on their agenda.

  • People such as ourselves should try making use of the new Office of the Public Liaison. I’m all fired up to get cynical about this too, but I’m not just there yet.

  • Andrew

    I was told that transit projects weren’t “shovel ready” and therefore not fall into the stimulus plan. Can someone explain this. When does something be classified as shovel ready?

  • ryan

    Shovel-ready is shorthand for ‘will be paid for before the stimulus plan has outlived its usefulness.’ You don’t want to fund a huge project that will be finished like 10 years after the recession you were trying to jolt your way out of. It will cause inflation. A Big Dig scenario for transit will pretty much kill any hope for a rational transportation policy in this country for a generation

  • Love that futuristic-looking BART train.

    Check out my book…

  • Schuylkill Sarah

    Is anybody in the Network tracking bike/ped funding in the stimulus bills?

  • Niccolo Machiavelli

    “Shovel-ready” just a clever piece of language framing to put highway projects at the front of the line for stimulus money. I argue that funding transit operating budgets will be far more stimulative in the short run and the long run than the next yard of concrete. Nonetheless, by setting “shovel-ready” as the standard it is probably true that there are more blueprints on file for new roads than there is for anything else. Add to that the greater NIMBY resistance that transit historically has generated and you have a very bad picture shaping up.

    I’m shovel ready tomorrow to start working on opening the Rockaway Branch to rail service, but I think the neighbors would quickly have their political guardians armed to the teeth before we got shovels in the ground.


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