The U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee has been working on “The American Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act” stimulus spending package. In spite of fears that the stimulus bill would contain no policy changes with regard to current federal transportation spending — in which only 3% of federal transportation spending goes to transit — the proposed $275 billion spending bill contains $30 billion for highways and $10 billion for public transit. Greater Greater Washington has a very good breakdown of where spending would go in the proposed bill.
Local to me in California, the city of San Jose and the Valley Transportation Authority has lobbied for stimulus funding to pay for several ‘shovel ready’ projects consisting mostly of backlogged road maintenance projects but including significant transit projects such as the Eastridge Light Rail extension and the BART extension to San Jose. I’m told that bike projects — including some of the bike parking and access projects described in the Caltrain Bike Access report — are also in San Jose’s funding requests, though I don’t have the numbers right now.
New highways often come at the expense of poorer families as their homes are condemned then razed to make way for new right of way. In a guest editorial, Angela Glover Blackwell opines that public transit in the recovery package builds a foundation for the new economy and lifts up low-income families.
At a much smaller and local level, Andy proposes his own stimulus plan. Barack Obama’s proposed $1000 tax cut equates to about $60 per paycheck. He created Stimulus Bike as a resource for us to pledge to use this money towards bikes, which is a great way to improve the health of our economy, ourselves, our environment, and our wallets. Use your tax cut to buy, fix, repair or upgrade a bike.