The Stranger | Slog | Obama Team Gutted Rail; Most Stimulus Highway Projects Not "Shovel-Ready":
As Matthew Yglesias notes, less than half the money dedicated to new infrastructure projects in the House-Obama stimulus plan—a plan that was gutted, supposedly at the behest of Obama economic advisor Larry Summers, to eliminate $17 billion in proposed spending on public transportation—will be spent in the next two years. That means, first and foremost, that those highway projects won't do anything to lift the nation out of recession—the stated primary goal of the economic stimulus. And it's especially disappointing given that, as Grist reports, there are at least $50 billion in backlogged repair projects for public transit systems ready to go right now. Prioritizing highways that won't be built for years at the expense of shovel-ready transit projects that could help the economy today makes no logistical sense. It's a political decision, not an economic one.