U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has announced that the Federal Department of Transportation is allotting $787 million for 255 modernization and repair projects across the nation. Comparatively, in 2010 the U.S. allotted $1.8 billion for such expenses.
As our nation’s infrastructure continues to ungraciously age, many see transportation spending as the prime opportunity to rebuild the economy.
While $787 million is likely to help many small projects come to fruition, it is not the all-encompassing figure needed to combat the problem of rapid, national infrastructure decay. The DOT also released a map (screengrab above, link here) to show where and for what purpose the money will be spent.
This marks the third consecutive year the DOT has allotted money to help rebuild and revitalize our nation’s transportation systems. Investing in transit has traditionally been easily to engender bipartisan support for since all citizens can enjoy the end result:
Investing in transit—the infrastructure that we depend on to go to work, school, the grocery store, and the doctor’s office—generates benefits that go far beyond increasing access to jobs and essential services. In the past, we’ve see unmistakable proof that transit transforms communities, revives aging downtowns, promotes economic growth, and improves the quality of life for hard-working families.
Since many of these awards will replace aging buses for clean-fuel vehicles, these investments will also improve air quality not just for transit riders, but also for everyone in the community.
On top of that, these funds will put people back to work modernizing our nation’s public transit systems.
New Jersey Transit: $76 million to upgrade its statewide bus fleet, to improve commuting times, improve air quality for state residents, and save on fuel by doubling the fleet of fuel-efficient buses. In addition, the state will put new hybrid coach buses on the road to improve the commute to New York City and start a new Bus Rapid Transit service between Camden County and downtown Philadelphia.
Maryland Department of Transportation: $40 million to replace Baltimore’s 65-year old Kirk Division Bus Facility with two sustainable “green” buildings that will help reduce operating costs, create local construction jobs in Northeast Baltimore, and help more than 350 local transit employees maintain a growing fleet of new, energy-efficient buses that are now serviced elsewhere.
Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority: $15 million to replace aging buses with new buses which will use compressed natural gas. These new buses will improve reliability for riders, leave a smaller environmental footprint and reduce fuel costs.
Capital Area Transportation Authority in East Lansing, Michigan: $6.3 million to redevelop a former Amtrak station near Michigan State University into the Capital Area Multi-Modal Gateway Project, which will improve bicycle and pedestrian access and connections to local bus and rail service.