USA - "How Should the (Transportation) Infrastructure Stimulus Be Spent?"
Michael Replogle, Transportation Director Environmental Defense Fund, draws our attention to an article and "insider discussion" on the topic of "How Should the (Transportation) Infrastructure Stimulus Be Spent?". You can see the discussions thus far, including his submittal to it, if you click to http://transportation.nationaljournal.com/2008/12/how-should-infrastructure-stimulus-be-spent.php
I invite you to have a look and if you have any thoughts on the overall thrust of the articles and comments, it would be good to hear from you here on the New Mobility Café. You may wish to try as well to see if you can post them to their program site. (I could not see quite how that works.)
A quick comment if I may: Clearly when you have the title "infrastructure" right in the middle it more or less automatically channels people's thoughts to I infrastructure, and with the exception of Michael’s submittal and possibly one or two others, just about every one of those insiders is focusing on what we might call the product end as opposed to the service end of our mobility systems. Something like supply-siders if you will. Thus you have lots of talk about the importance of roads, highways, bridges, and various permutations of transportation hardware, along with the occasional call for support to "transit agencies". I for one would like to see this debate -- but more important the much broader debate which is taking place in the run-up to the new administration in the United States -- expand to take a new mobility perspective as we understand it here.
To make this point let me close this out with a quick report on a word count exercise that I ran over the content of this article and various contributors. Just below I have taken some of the terms that cropped up most frequently in their home page. Not surprisingly the word infrastructure is right up there at the top of the list. And then . . .
· Infrastructure (46)
· Investment (29)
· Road (19)
· Highway (18)
· Billion (18)
· Transit (15)
· Energy (12)
· Bridges (5)
· Clean (5)
Then I have run a quick frequency count for the kinds of things that we talk about most in these new mobility conversations. Here is how this end of the list looked:
· Alternatives (1)
· Biking (1
· Bus (1)
· Railways (1)
· Sidewalk (1)
· Child, children
· Public space
Now, does that mean anything? Perhaps I am being unfair and beside the point. I count on you to put me straight.
Once again, comments and suggestions on this are welcome.
PS. The above exercise is not quite complete, though I certainly feel that the thrust of the arguments holds overall. Because of the page layout those frequency scans were run only on the opening half of the articles in all cases. One exception is Michael Replogle’s full piece, in which he looks specifically at the question “Will reckless stimulus investment threaten to undo the cap?” In his piece you will see references to sidewalks, bike lanes, light rail, local street and transit improvements, and emphasis on supporting local government in its key role. So all is not lost but it certainly points up the extent to which this debate is, may I say, being pretty heavily dominated by the old thinking. Hmm. Best we find a way to edge in here?