July 14, 2019 | IFA Staff
As Americans spend the summer on road trips and other vacations, it is interesting to consider what the roads we travel really cost our country. The U.S. Public Interest Group recently released their annual report, Highway Boondoggles. The report features just nine projects that total $25 billion in cost to taxpayers.
“Every time we spend money on infrastructure, we have an opportunity to reenvision the future,” said Sam Landenwitsch, senior vice president for The Public Interest Network, of which U.S. PIRG Education Fund is a member. “If we’re smarter about how we spend our transportation dollars and focus instead on building a 21st-century transportation system, America can have less pollution, less gridlock and more public transit.”
“Sometimes it’s the infrastructure we don’t build that makes all the difference,” said Gideon Weissman of Frontier Group, report co-author. “Cities from Dallas to Tampa to Milwaukee have discovered that ditching boondoggle highway projects has opened up new opportunities to build stronger, cleaner and more fiscally sustainable communities.”
Some of the most costly expansion projects included in the report are:
The LA County Freeway; California; $8 billion: In stark contrast to California’s efforts to reduce state global warming emissions, a proposed highway would lead to more driving and more pollution, along with sprawling desert development.
The North Houston Highway Improvement Project; Texas; $6+ billion: A massive highway project in Houston would harm communities, displace residents and destroy businesses, while sucking billions of dollars away from important transportation priorities.
The Tri-State Tollway Widening; Illinois; $4 billion: The Tri-State Tollway outside Chicago is testament to the fact that you can’t build your way out of congestion. It has been widened twice, and still suffers from heavy traffic. Nevertheless, the Illinois Tollway is still moving forward with a $4 billion expansion project.
The report recommends ditching these projects for less costly road repairs and transit upgrades. Of course, there is disagreement about whether the USPIRG perspective is valid, especially in light of the $2 trillion plan to upgrade roads, highways, ports, and airports that President Trump and Congress are debating.
Government spending is certainly not the kind of topic that elicits a lot of attention, but we would do well to pray about it. Our nation’s growing debt (both personal and governmental) should concern us, as biblical Christians, given that the Bible teaches extensively about money and the dangers of debt.
What do you think about government spending? Expanding roads? Expanding deficit?
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