Bob Geary, one of those journalists who digs deep and thinks hard, has an excellent story in this week's Independent about the state of transit funding here in North Carolina. It's not a pretty picture.
The massive economic stimulus package now being fashioned in Washington is expected to include billions of dollars for mass transit and intercity rail projects. But because of decisions made during the Bush administration, the Triangle stands to receive little or none of it, the region's transportation leaders say.
Bob seems to have found some hints of a silver lining, reporting that North Carolina's metro leaders are on the case, but I can't help lament this sad situation. We'll be living with the disastrous consequences of Bush-era policies for generations to come.
Triangle Transit's first board meeting of 2009 coincided with the unveiling in Washington of the House Appropriations Committee's $850 billion economic recovery package, which included a proposed $10 billion for mass transit. But David King, Triangle Transit's general manager, doubted his agency would qualify for any of the rail funding and likely will receive only "single-digit millions" for new buses and bus shelters from any stimulus package that eventually emerges.
The reason, King said, is that Triangle Transit's rail planning came to a screeching halt two and a half years ago when the Bush administration signaled that the then-proposed Durham-to-Raleigh commuter line would not be approved for final design and construction funding. After a decade in the federal pipeline, Triangle Transit withdrew the project rather than suffer a fatal rejection.
Thanks for nothing, George.