Saturday, February 24, 2007

They Don't Really Care About Us

In the next few weeks I'm going to be quoting and commenting on clips from the book 2oth Century Sprawl. The following quote is interesting because it shows that all along the roads movement hasn't cared about urban mobility but rather just treating urban areas as a nuisance. Thomas MacDonald, head of the Bureau of Public Roads, was a huge proponent of the Federal Highway System. However in order to get them built he needed the traffic counts from urban areas. In promising congestion alleviation it would get a lot of political support that was needed to build the system. MacDonald's report, Interregional Highways was the basis for the 1944 Federal Aid Highway Act that created the Federal Highway System, needed the urban areas to buy in. But the following says it all...

In another section of the report, MacDonald acknowledged with surprising candor that the urban components of the system were not designed to alleviate urban congestion, except to the extent that they would provide relieve to those motorists for whom the city was an inconvenient obstruction.
That's how people think of the city today as well. While Rick Perry in Texas believes that the TransTexas Corridor will alleviate congestion, that is not his want at all. He just wants the political support from urban areas.

So even the King of Roads acknowledged that the Interstate Highway System was not built to alleviate urban congestion, so why do we continue to listen to people who want to build more and more and more roads to solve congestion? They just want to avoid the city all together. We also know that because of Highway Federalism that most of the money collected from gas taxes in Urban Areas does not go into urban projects. It's redistributed around the state in which that region is a part. This is the problem with our funding system, so why don't we hear more about it?

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