Housing Complex

Industry Groups Support the Government Spending Billions of Dollars on Them

That's what the headline of this Post piece about a study in support of widening of the Beltway—with a $5.8 billion price tag—should have said.

Instead, reporter Ashley Halsey III doesn't tell us until the third paragraph that this seemingly-objective non-profit is backed by the construction industry, which if you ask me makes any study in favor of spending on its priorities pretty suspect.

Here's the gist:

In a report released Wednesday, TRIP (or The Road Information Program) says Maryland’s recovery from the recession and its future economic viability depend on investment in relieving congestion and improving mobility.

Maryland’s transportation system has significant deficiencies that could prevent the state from reaching its full economic potential,” the report says. “Maryland’s economy and quality of life could be adversely affected if its transportation system cannot provide for the efficient movement of goods and people.”

The cost of the top 10 projects TRIP listed amount to almost $13.7 billion.

Of course we need to invest in transportation infrastructure. But you know what's a lot cheaper, more effective, and better for the environment than building new roads? Putting housing and jobs in places that are already served by them, and improving transit to take people out of individual cars. It would've been nice if the Post had seen fit to balance the views of an industry group with somebody who could look at the region's transportation issues a little more objectively.

  • http://greatergreaterwashington.org/ David Alpert

    This is a fantastic critique. Thank you, Lydia.

  • http://wwwtripwithinthebeltway.blogspot.com/ Douglas Willinger

    Pure idiotlogy that ignores the region with the major gaps in the highway system, like a wheel with no major northern spokes) in favor holding up one's finger to see that the corrupt power does not want the needed freeways anywhere near their properties.



  • http://blogs.forbes.com/stephensmith/ Stephen Smith

    Seems like kind of a double standard…reporters quote ULI reports all the time without mentioning that they're funded by urban developers and transit builders (AECOM…).

    Personally, I think all studies like this (relatively un-rigorous, not peer reviewed, no university affiliation [Furman, Schack, etc.], etc.) should be off limits, but if we're gonna let people get away with quoting ULI reports, I don't see why highway lobbies should be any different.

  • http://www.smartergrowth.net Stewart Schwartz

    I think Lydia's criticism is fair. It is of particular concern that the Washington Post reporter didn't include any other points of view. With a little more analysis in the article it could have addressed questions about what our options are since we we can't afford all of these big-ticket projects. Many of these projects like Route 5 and Route 210 could fuel additional sprawling development and induced traffic. We need to combining the right mix of land use, transit, local street networks and targeted highway investments, to ensure we are creating more transportation options to reduce driving demand as our population grows.

  • Eric

    I saw this article this morning and immediately had the same thought. You've got to wonder who has given this guy a license to write without any notion of social responsibility.