Critics Charge House Roads Bill Favors ‘Obsolete,’ ‘Irrelevant’ Forms of Transportation
Article from For Liberty by Norm Leahy.
The House of Representatives approved a nearly $500 billion highway bill that “[s]ubstantially increases transit funding out of the Highway Trust Fund,” a move critics say diverts billions of dollars that could go to making roads safer into subsidizing obsolete forms of transportation.
Cato Institute senior fellow Randal O’Toole writes, the bill’s priorities have a back to the future feel:
…the bill represents a strong bias towards intercity passenger trains and rail transit. That would make perfect sense in 1920, when American usage of both intercity passenger trains and urban rail transit peaked.
O’Toole notes that today, passenger cars and trucks “moved well over 90 percent of passenger travel, with the remainder divided among non‐transit buses and motorcycles.”
Why the focus on trains? O’Toole says it’s a misguided belief that trains travel is more energy-efficient, and pollutes less. The reality is rail travel isn’t as green as it’s made out to be:
In the few places where transit and Amtrak are greener than driving, it is usually because they use electrical energy in states that rely heavily on by nuclear or hydroelectric power plants. Driving an electric car would do just as well.
Image Credit: Smnt / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)