From the Strong Towns blog: No New Roads:
Minnesota’s legislative session begins tomorrow and, like many states throughout the union, front and center on the agenda is transportation spending. From this weekend’s edition of the Star Tribune:
“Anybody who travels around the state knows our highways are in worse condition, our traffic congestion is getting worse, public transit is far behind other parts of the country and world in terms of its adequacy and efficiency,” [Minnesota Governor Mark] Dayton said in an interview. “I can guarantee that if we don’t make it better, it’s going to continue to get worse.”
Making it “better” means, of course, spending more money. There is no talk of reform. There is nobody really asking how we got in such a difficult financial situation. The only question under consideration is the one I outlined in my latest book, A World Class Transportation System: How do we get more money to continue doing more of the same thing?
This is our system: one big Ponzi scheme attempting to prop up a 1950’s development extravaganza of strip malls, big box stores, fast food and cheap residential housing. You want to spend more on this?
Sunday’s Star Tribune indicated that current funding levels put us “$21.2 billion short” of what is needed “just to keep Minnesota’s current system functioning, never mind expanding it.” How about we just try that for a while? What would it actually mean to just to keep our current system functioning?
What would it mean to try and get more out of our current investments before we added more?