Oberstar’s Call to “Rebuild America,” and Other Stimulus Notes

Today on the Streetsblog Network, we’re featuring a post from The Transport Politic that analyzes Rep. James Oberstar’s recent speech on transportation in the stimulus bill to the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee. Oberstar spoke on his own "Rebuild America" proposal:

160px_Oberstarj.jpgRep. James Oberstar, D-MN

Importantly, unlike Mr. Obama thus far, Mr. Oberstar is willing to discuss providing funding for projects that are not yet ready for construction, but which are almost
there. In other words, while much of the talk on the economic stimulus has revolved around getting projects started within 90 days, this bill will provide for projects that will begin construction in 90 days or 1 year. This is a significant factor in improving the climate for transit, because while many road projects literally could begin construction tomorrow (highway resurfacing is the most prominent example), there are far fewer transit projects that ready — but given a timeline extension of just a few months, they would be.… Such funding, for instance, could pay for renovation of dozens of New York City subway stations, in desperate need of repair, but which are not ready for construction in the 90-day timetable.

Other network members are dissecting the stimulus proposals emerging from their own communities. In New Jersey, WalkBikeJersey laments:

There are 151 projects on this list. Where are the bicycle projects? There are none. Pedestrian projects? About a half dozen. Most of the projects are legitimate rehabilitation and transit projects but some road widening projects are in there, including some mega intersection widening that makes bicycling and walking very difficult.

Over at the National Journal’s Transportation "Expert Blog," they’re asking,"Does Earmark-Free Mean Pork-Free? Or Worthwhile?" Transit Miami has this to say on the subject: "Let’s hope Obama can tell the difference between the lechon and the pork."

  • Another good example of why directing the stimulus to cities is more worthwhile: the Texas DOT wants tons for highways, but the city of Fort Worth prefers almost $500 million for rail.

    http://fortworthology.com/2009/01/12/fort-worth-seeking-471-million-for-southwest-to-northeast-rail/

    The Southwest-to-Northeast rail project is the single biggest item on the city’s wish list for the stimulus. Good proof that we’re not all as backwards as TxDOT and Governor Perry.

  • Rhywun

    It’s amazing to me that even *ninety days* isn’t enough time to get a subway station renovation going.

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