Highway Boondoggles | US PIRG

US PIRG just released “Highway Boondoggles: Wasted Money and America’s Transportation Future“. The report is very much in line with our Fix-it-First report, noting many new expansion projects that waste scarce funds,  not consistent with the actual needs for repair, and fly in the face of long-term “peak travel” trends showing declining use of the car both per capita and flat demand overall. Sadly some states (at least 11) continue to build while they fail to maintain.

They conclude:

  • Reconsider all plans for new and expanded highways in light of new transportation trends and recent changes in traffic volumes. This includes highway expansion projects proposed to be completed via public- private partnerships. Just because a project has been in the planning pipeline for several years does not mean it deserves to receive scarce taxpayer dollars.
  • Reorient transportation funding away from highway expansion and toward repair of existing roads and investment in other transportation options.
  • Encourage transportation investments that can reduce the need for costly and disruptive highway expansion projects. Investments in public transportation, changes in land-use policy, road pricing measures, and technological measures that help drivers avoid peak-time traffic, for instance, can often reduce congestion more cheaply and effectively than highway expansion.
  •  Reevaluate transportation forecasting models to ensure that they reflect changing preferences for housing and transportation among Millennials and others and incorporate the availability of new transportation options such as carsharing, bikesharing and rideshar- ing into new models.
  • Invest in research and data collection to more effectively track and react to changes in transportation demand.