America’s transportation network is broken. Now what?
Transportation Secretary Mary Peters thinks she has the answer. Late yesterday, she unveiled a new plan to “refocus, reform and renew” the national approach to highway and transit systems.
“Without a doubt, our federal approach to transportation is broken,” Peters said in a prepared statement. “And no amount of tweaking, adjusting or adding new layers on top will make things better. It is time for a new, a different and a better approach.”
She’s right about one thing: No amount of tweaking, adjusting or adding new layers on top will make things better. But a review of this plan suggests that’s exactly what the Bush administration is trying to do — apply the proverbial band-aid to a gaping wound.
For the policy wonks among you, here’s the full version of the secretary’s plan (PDF). Read and decide for yourself.
The reaction has been less than enthusiastic. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman James Oberstar (D-Minn.) called the plan “a collection of the same uninspired and uninspiring policies that this administration has offered over the past five years: toll it, privatize it, lease it, sell it, or congestion-price it.”
What does all of this mean to you, the traveler?
In the short term, at least, more gridlock. Perhaps the addition of a few more toll roads. Expect difficult driving conditions, in general.
As I read Peters’ plan, I’m left with little hope that the federal government will develop a comprehensive plan to end the gridlock that plagues many of our nation’s highways. At least not in this administration.