Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Right Kind of Infrastructure Investment

From a Philadelphia Inquirer op-ed by University of Pennsylvania Professor Vukan Vuchic and Pennsylvania state legislator Bryan R. Lentz:

"The need to inject billions into our economy presents an opportunity to make dramatic, transformative investment in our transportation infrastructure. Let's not blow it by exhausting our financial resources on recurring road and bridge maintenance, ignoring the opportunity to improve intercity passenger rail and urban transit. The latter kind of investment could reduce our dependency on automobiles, decrease energy consumption, and lessen the need for repairs of the same roads and bridges in the years ahead.

There's no question that our traditional transportation infrastructure is not in good condition. The main cause of its deterioration is an untenable increase in automobile and truck traffic, which accelerates the deterioration of road surfaces and bridges.

But dealing with these problems by expanding roadways and increasing maintenance programs is comparable to dealing with obesity by loosening one's belt. The most effective long-term solution to traffic congestion is a modern, first-class passenger-rail and urban-transit system."

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