Report: Infrastructure Deal Must Consider Environment

May 16, 2019

Instead of building new roads and widening highways, StreetsBlog says there’s a better way to spend $2 trillion in infrastructure. According to a recent article, the authors of a U.S. PIRG Education Fund study suggest the country prioritize measures that shift commuters toward transit while fixing antiquated bridges and essential roadways that are a public safety risk.

“Deciding how much to spend before deciding what to spend it on puts the cart before the horse,” Andre Delattre, a senior VP at The Public Interest Network, which helped compile the report, said to StreetsBlog. “If Congress and the Trump administration avoid the temptation to spend indiscriminately and instead develop a bold new infrastructure vision, we have the opportunity to give our children and grandchildren a stronger, healthier and more sustainable future.”

In the past, lawmakers didn’t worry about the environmental implications of building an interstate highway system could lead to (polluted air, dependency on fossil fuels). Today, lawmakers don’t have the same luxury-- an infrastructure overhaul would contribute to pollution, and exacerbate global warming. Because of this, StreetsBlog says the plan should encourage walking and cycling with an effect of curbing air pollution and reversing climate change.  

“[We] must move us away from reliance on dirty fossil fuels and closer to a society that avoids wasting energy and powers itself with clean, renewable energy ” Rob Sargent, Environment America Research & Policy Center, told StreetsBlog. “We should only build things that guarantee a healthier future, which means investing in energy conservation and clean, renewable sources of energy such as the sun and wind.”

The article also says the report provides a roadmap with recommendations along the same set of goals: pick projects that create safer, healthier communities, fix things first, and avoid building something expensive that could become obsolete before the end of its useful life.

When it comes to transit, for example, politicians must spend money on transit projects or a public transportation component.

Source: StreetsBlog