If The Onion covered last week’s TIGER 2 announcements

Kittery-Portsmouth Memorial Bridge, originally uploaded by cmh2315fl.

If The Onion were covering last week’s TIGER 2 announcements, the headline would be: “DOT to replace the deteriorating Kittery-Portsmouth Memorial Bridge; other 70,997 bridges out of luck.”

Serious policy analysts don’t talk like that, but in fact the US Department of Transportation rates 12 percent (71,000) of the nations’ bridges as “structurally deficient,” which means that a bridge has a major defect in its support structure or its deck is cracking and deteriorating.

TIGER 2 will repair of three (3) of them.


Now available: guaranteed high-return investments

In his New York Times blog yesterday, Edward Glaeser asks for nuance and careful thinking on the question of whether countries should spend their way out of the recession: there’s no one answer, and we need to look carefully at the situations different countries are in. Similarly with different kinds of public spending. Some work, some don’t. It’s a good argument, but one he then fails to apply to infrastructure.


The transportation stimulus at “1”: same mixed story

The economic stimulus from early 2009 was largely about creating jobs quickly, and so included a requirement that states obligate half of their flexible stimulus money in 120 days. In June 2009, SGA reported on what they decided to do with the money, and found that many states missed an opportunity to make as much progress as possible in filling the nation’s most pressing transportation needs and creating jobs as quickly as possible. They built new roads while old ones were crumbling, and passed on an opportunity to catch up on investing in public transportation — both of which are contrary to both the intent of ARRA and to what people have said they want transportation money spent on. The states had to obligate all of their money within a year, so SGA has once again gone through every project to see where your money is going. The results? Not much changed between the 120-day obligations and the full year.


Stimulus spending results add to argument for repair and public transportation investments

At Streetsblog Captiol Hill, Elana Schor’s “Crunching June Stimulus Numbers: Roads Create Pricier Jobs Than Transit” confirms, so far, the predictions in SGA’s Spending the Stimulus: per dollar of investment, state road projects create fewer jobs than do state transit projects. The differences that she found are smaller than other studies have found, mostly, we suspect, because all the road project types are lumped together. Repair has long been found to produce more jobs than new roads.


Road safety matters; spend the money right

The report featured in last Thursday’s Washington Post (“Highway Conditions Contribute to Over Half of Fatal Auto Crashes”) got it half right: highway design does affect safety. But the argument that road and bridge widening is a cure for fatalities is wrong. That recommendation could have been written in 1959, and has been refuted on the ground in projects around the country.

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Doctors prescribe smarter growth

Pediatricians should help work against conventional suburban development (top) and for traditional neighborhoods (lower). Why? For starters, so kids can walk to school again. AAP’s Policy Statement includes this drawing by Duany, Plater-Zyberk. A version of the drawing is available at http://www.dpz.com/research.aspx, Diagram #25. Yesterday, the American Academy of Pediatrics adopted a ground-breaking policy statement … Continued

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