Fixing transportation infrastructure: which road is the right one?

Fixing transportation infrastructure: which road is the right one?

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Tue, 10/12/2010 - 7:24am

Recent planned spending for large infrastructure projects, including high-speed rail and other commuter enhancements, have brought into question where funding for our nation's transportation projects should be allocated. Institute of Transportation Studies and Urban Planning professor Brian Taylor recently spoke to NPR's All Things Considered about the topic. Taylor argues that there should be more attention paid to crumbling infrastructure projects that are in desperate need of repair, and less to what he calls "ribbon cutting" projects generally favored by both politicians and the electorate. He stated:

"There is such a crisis to pay for maintaining these things...The question they often ask us is, 'Why are you doing this when you know down the road this is going to entail substantially more costs to rebuild this infrastructure than if we were maintaining it properly now?'

The report canvassed the depression-era 478-mile Blue Ridge Parkway to discuss the controversial nature of road building.  This covered the staggering cost for developing high-speed rail lines along the eastern seaboard, pacific northwest, and California. Taking into the polarizing nature of transportation funding, Taylor responded that professors aren't sure how to respond without a system that maintains the infrastructure.

Other than to say there's been a growing unwillingness among the electorate to pay for the fees, the tolls and the taxes and the other means to pay for these facilities over time"

Brian Taylor's research centers on transportation policy and planning. His work explores how society pays for transportation systems and how these systems in turn serve the needs of people who, because of low income, disability, location, or age, have lower levels of mobility. Topically, his research examines travel behavior, transportation finance, and politics & planning.

Listen to the segment or read the full article here.

Recent planned spending for large infrastructure projects, including high-speed rail and other commuter enhancements, have brought into question where funding for our nation's transportation projects should be allocated.