Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Crazy Pills All Around!

We have nothing to show for tossing bones to the R's. They got concessions but we know the bill got watered down because of it. Now the auto industry is going to be using our money to be dinosaurs. What did we vote for in November. I forgot.

At least more funding got into the package. And Mr. Dukakis assures us that the future will be good. The Obama administration has promised more rail and transit funding. Are we going to see things start to happen?

Dukakis: No question about it. This economic mess we're in has actually turned out to be a huge opportunity to invest in transit projects. Despite the concerns out there, I think this is a huge opportunity. What concerns?

Dukakis: There's worry that the states just aren't ready to move on stuff. They haven't done the planning and the engineering they need to jump into major projects when the funding is there. We have a major construction-management problem in this country. In Massachusetts, the governor wants to build a four-mile light-rail extension using existing right of way [tracks and property that are already in place], and it's going to take six years to complete. How can that be? Chinese and Irish immigrants were laying four miles of track a day on the transcontinental railroad, and that was in the 1860s.
Was there any money for engineering in the bill? I agree that it shouldn't take six years to build the green line. It should have been done yesterday. But unless there is some sort of signal from the administration that engineering should begin and go faster on more of these lines because the money will start flowing, there's no reason for transit agencies to push harder for it. That just means that the cycle continues as to whether it should be done at all. This is why the next transportation bill is so important. Let's get it right.


Justin said...

Why is Obama even bothering trying to cater to these people? They'll think nothing of stabbing him in the back, if they got the chance.

Anonymous said...

Dukakis is right. It's utterly demoralizing that we can't build the same amount of rail in five years that used to be built in a single day. How can we fix this? It's a serious question - what part of the process needs to change?