In Dallas, You Can Get a “Sustainability” Grant to Widen a Road

Image: North Central Texas Council of Governments
Want to widen a road in the Dallas region? You can get “Sustainable Development Funds.” Want to extend a transit line? No such luck. Image: North Central Texas Council of Governments

Some folks on Twitter have been having a laugh about these PowerPoint slides from the North Central Texas Council of Governments.

But it’s more sad than funny. The slides outline what kinds of projects are eligible for the Dallas region’s Sustainable Development Funds, according to local planner Patrick Kennedy. More than $43 million was awarded for projects meeting these criteria between 2009 and 2010, the last time the funds were apparently awarded. (They were also awarded in 2001 and 2006.)

“The program is designed to encourage planning and foster growth and development in and around historic downtowns and Main Streets, infill areas, and along passenger rail lines and at stations,” COG explains on its website.

Notice how the top eligible item is “expanding roadway capacity.” And that road reconstruction — maintenance projects — is ineligible.

Even though we’ve singled out Dallas here, lots of agencies give out federal “Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Funds” for road widenings. Adding turn lanes is a federally eligible use. Point being, the federal government and many regional governments — Dallas among them — still accept the idea that widening roads will reduce congestion and thus improve air quality, despite all the evidence that it does the opposite.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

How Sprawl Got Detroit Into This Mess

|
It wasn’t de-industrialization that bankrupted Detroit, wrote Paul Krugman in a New York Times column yesterday. If that was all there is to it, then how do you explain the fact that Pittsburgh, once so dependent on the steel industry, is now recovering? No, what brought Detroit to this low point, more than the loss […]

Anthony Foxx Wants to Repair the Damage Done By Urban Highways

|
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx is offering a surprisingly honest appraisal of America’s history of road construction this week, with a high-profile speaking tour that focuses on the damage that highways caused in black urban neighborhoods. Growing up in Charlotte, Foxx’s own street was walled in by highways, he recalled in a speech today at the Center for American Progress. Building big, grade-separated roads through […]