Nice Job, Heath! Now, About those Roads

Nancy Pelosi and her Democratic steering committee members have made an excellent decision in placing Heath Shuler on the Transportation and Infrastruction Committee.

Anyone who either grew up in North Carolina or has lived here for any time knows that one of our major issues is and always has been roads. Heath Shuler will be in a position to possibly bring us some help. OK, I know this committee deals with so much more than roads, but it was the first thing I thought about when I saw the announcement.

I may be showing that I just don't know how these things work. I don't think I'm talking about pork, because I know some transportation projects are funded with pork. I guess, I'm assuming that when states/cities are looking for federal aide for roads projects, this is the committee that makes the decisions about which project gets their funding. It's encouraging to think that our state might not have to fight so hard to get its fair share.

Now, I'm not thinking Heath will bump NC ahead of another deserving state. I'm just thinking he can keep our projects on the front burning. Heaven knows we need all the help we can get.

Congratulations, Heath. This is a powerful committee. I bet it's more powerful than anything Robin Hayes gets.

The Charlotte Observer has the story.

Comments

Is it cute to hope

that Robin Hayes' basement office has a musty smell?

OK...so I don't know that his new office is in the basement...... :)

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

What about renewing interest in a light rail system in RTP?

As I grew up listening to my father complain about how Raleigh (pronounced R-I-L-E-Y by veterandem Sr)kept all of the "road money" in the eastern part of the state (and if anyone has traveled the back roads of Graham, Swain, Clay counties, you know it is mostly true). Although I agree with him, I think we should focus should be on light rail development in the Triangle. Follow me........

Even though my wife and I no longer live in the area, my former employer had to shitcan and re-shuffle some people around the country after Liddy Dole (R-Anywhere but NC) stabbed the the RTD and DATA systems in the back. I think that might be a great way to sway a few more voters away from Do-Nothing Dole. Besides if Charlotte gets a light rail system (at some point in the future yet to be designated), why, shouldn't the Triangle (with links to Burlington-Greensboro-Winston-Salem) get theirs. Imagine all of the cars that would be pulled off of the roadways and how that might push back the melting of the last cube of ice from the North Pole by a decade!

Oh, and since this is about Heath, GO HEATH!

Exactly. It has been

Exactly. It has been programmed for funds before Bush, but Bush canned it because big oil doesn't like light rail. I think it's time to put transportation strategies that create energy independence on the front burner. And the first step would be to fully fund all of the transit improvements that Bush scuttled.

50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

Triangle light rail

Oh, my.

I wish that the blame for the failure to develop a working commuter rail plan in the Triangle could be so simply assigned to the Bush Administration. Then, we'd know exactly what we need to do to get one here.

Unfortunately, it's not. There are a lot of reasons why the TTA project went nowhere, to coin a phrase. Federal funding is one of them, but quite honestly, i don't think it was the critical issue.

The fact that even the natural constituency for a commuter rail system, namely commuters, couldn't rally around the TTA plan to lobby for its funding speaks volumes about the quality of the plan itself.

Hopefully, the recent setbacks will inspire our transportation community to come up with a plan that makes sense, gets people out of their cars and to places that they actually want and need to go, and does so at a cost that is competitive with that of building new roads. Then we might get somewhere, to coin another phrase.

Interesting analysis

I find it hard to make the case that "commuters" are a key driver in the equation. Commuters are worried about the traffic jam they are in right now, not the one their children are going to be in 20 years from now. And yet planners have to be thinking 20 years out because that's the horizon major initiatives operate on. In the meantime, land is getting more and more expensive, less and less available, and the public policy makers are fiddling on the sidelines.

I attribute the situation you describe to the combined failures of vision and leadership . . . and mostly the later.

In the wake of relentless attacks from the free-market fundamentalists, we've learned to expect little from our public servants and they are meeting those low expectations perfectly.

Criteria change?

the way I understood it, there was a criteria change in mid-stream. The TTA proposal was geared heavily towards the parts of the older criteria that were changed.

Sorry I can't be more specific.

I know that every good and excellent thing in the world stands moment by moment on the razor-edge of danger and must be fought for. ~ Thornton Wilder

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

Exactly

The feds (Bush cronies)changed the criteria for funding new systems, raising the bar so high that the TTA plan couldn't meet it.

The state-owned NC railroad didn't help, either. The TTA plan started out planning to use existing rail corridors because that was supposed to be cheaper. However, the NC Railroad - and the freight lines that lease it - forced TTA to agree to build their own tracks on the far edge of the right of way. This had a HUGE impact on the cost of the system. Sure, TTA still got to use the land for free, but everything had to be built from scratch.

The other problem with using existing rail corridors is that there's not one from Duke to UNC, there's not one from Chapel Hill to RTP, and there's not one to RDU. And Duke balked at having a station across from Duke Hospital for aesthetic reasons. All of this cut the projected ridership.

Finally, the local funding for the TTA comes from a rental car tax. Charlotte got an extra penny of sales tax to fund their system, but Triangle legislators opposed the additional sales tax because it is regressive. The sales tax does raise a lot more money, though.

The TTA plan was included in the Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro MPO's Long Range Transportation Plan for 2030 so the area could meet projected air quality problems caused by traffic. Something will have to go in its place, or our long range plan will not meet the air quality criteria and we could lose our federal transportation funding.

I hope Heath can get the standards changed so TTA's plan can get back on track, so to speak...

I live three blocks

from the tracks in Clayton. If I could ride that line to Morrisville, hop on a shuttle (I can see the entrepreneurial types out there lovin' light rail already) to my workplace down on Aviation, that's one car off of I-40 every morning and every night, and that's excellent in and of itself.

But for me, light rail is a quality of life issue more than anything. That one car off the road means a load off my shoulders. It means there's a single parent out here (me) who can stop worrying herself sick about how she's going to afford the next car when this little '98 gem with 180,000 miles on it finally gives up the ghost in a few years. 8-|

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

Excited about roads?

My apologies for not sharing your excitement, but since when are roads a progressive cause?

Since Progressives had to drive to work

drive their kids to school, drive to volunteer at the soup kitchen, etc. Progressives who live in the real world, worry about roads.

Oh...and I don't know, better road infrastructure can help attract new businesses which might just help certain areas of North Carolina that have seen industry decimated by free trade agreements. Better roads save wear and tear on our vehicles which mean they last longer. That saves money for all of us. Better maintained roads and less crowded roads usually means fewer car accidents. Most progressives I know would like the idea of lives being saved. There would also be fewer insurance claims, so premiums might not rise as quickly.



Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

yes but

if roads are the first priority then they encourage the current status quo, which is decidedly non-progressive: it is anti-mass transit, bad for the environment, etc.

HelpLarry.com

"Keep the Faith"

Luckily for us...

this committee will probably also play a role in mass transit. You are right that planning roads first leads to more cars and less mass transit. On the other hand, look what just happened to I-40 in Durham, poor planning, corner cutting, and now they are tearing it back up again.

So, if you are going to have roads, they might as well be built correctly.

I know that every good and excellent thing in the world stands moment by moment on the razor-edge of danger and must be fought for. ~ Thornton Wilder

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

Sigh

......where did I say it was the first priority? The problem is that NC is so far behind on simple road maintenance and finishing projects started 10 - 15 years ago, we may never catch up. We don't let our roads go to crap to promote transit use.

You travel on roads between cities and mass transit within cities. We do want to be able to drive from city to city don't we?

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

maybe

We do want to be able to drive from city to city don't we?

do you want me travelling between cities? i think thats the real question here.

HelpLarry.com

"Keep the Faith"

No....

you should be traveling between cities.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Out here in the unreal world

I don't spend a lot of time worrying about roads. But then, I never knew they could solve so many of our social and environmental problems!

n/t

n/t



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.