February 7, 2013

Departing LaHood Moans That ‘America Is One Big Pothole’; Wasn’t the Stimulus Supposed to Solve That?

A Wednesday report by Keith Laing at the Hill failed to point out a quite obvious contradiction during departing Transportation Secretary LaHood’s appearance on NPR’s Diane Rehm show.

From all appearances, based on the video available at her site, Rehm, once LaHood launched into a predictable rant about how our transportation infrastructure is in serious disrepair, didn’t ask — and should have asked — why the hundreds of billions of dollars spent on the stimulus plan accompanied by those ubiquitous Recovery Act promotional signs seen at road construction projects didn’t stabilize things two or three years ago. Excerpts from Laing’s lackluster effort follow the jump (bolds are mine):

LaHood: ‘America is one big pothole’

Outgoing Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood lamented the amount of infrastructure spending that was approved by Congress during his tenure at the Department of Transportation (DOT) on Wednesday.

“America is one big pothole right now,” LaHood said in an interview on “The Diane Rehm Show” on National Public Radio.

“At one time … we were the leader in infrastructure,” LaHood continued. “We built the interstate system. It’s the best road system in the world, and we’re proud of it. But we’re falling way behind other countries, because we have not made the investments.”

… “The next decisions that will be made by this Congress, by this administration will have to be bold if we’re going to continue our efforts to fix up our roads, keep our highways in a state of good repair, to fix up unsafe bridges,” he said. “We need a bold plan, and a bold way to fund it.”

You had a “bold plan” in 2009, Ray. It was called the “stimulus.” The administration spent 2009 and 2010 bragging about how infrastructure improvements were bringing the nation back from the eeeeevil Bush recession.

The problem was, first, that much of the funding went to projects already on the books; in other words, federal money replaced state and local money. Second, much of the stimulus plan money was spent on nonsense like failed “green energy” projects which had nothing to do with improving infrastructure.

Now the administration acts as if little has ever been done (largely true, and their fault), and wants us to believe that another round of supposed infrastructure spending will be properly managed. Sure it will.

More fundamentally, money from the Highway Trust Fund which should have been sent on highway improvements and enhancements has been flushed down the black hold of mass transit, light rail, and other non-automotive means of transportation Americans have historically shunned and will continue to shun unless statists in government financially force them into it.

In 2010, Michelle Malkin perfectly summarized LaHood’s anti-car mindset:

what’s really driving LaHood? He’s pursued an anti-car ideological zeal from Day One — from entertaining proposals to impose mileage taxes on drivers and to track drivers’ routes, to redistributing tax dollars to pie-in-the-sky high-rail projects that no private business will touch, to peddling a “livability initiative” that would discourage suburban growth and corral residents in high-density areas dependent on public transportation.

Of course, Rehm never challenged LaHood on this legacy from his tenure, and Laing never pointed to it.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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1 Comment

  1. I’ve seen a fair share of my states transportation infrastructure, and it looks fine to me.

    Comment by zf — February 7, 2013 @ 2:31 pm

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