Cutting more than Cost: Mayors on Transportation

A transportation survey revealed that the majority of mayors in the 176 surveyed cities are just as concerned as WSDOT with budgets. In fact, they even cite that as the very reason FOR more sustainable designs, not spending on low-priority items like highway expansion and investing in transportation infrastructure as a way to economic recovery and growth.

Washington state Department of Transportation (WSDOT) moves forward with plans clearly rejected by the Design Commission for the south portal of the viaduct in downtown Seattle, their decision based largely on budget concerns.  Not surprisingly, other cities are concerned with budgets, too.  What’s interesting is that some people in power are advocating sustainability,  and clearer, less congested streets, and citing the same reason: cost!

Posted by Megan RisleyMay 9, 2011

Kasim Reed, the mayor of Atlanta sees as imperative budgeting for bike trails, crosswalks and sidewalks.  “Given the serious economic challenges facing the nation, we can’t afford investments like bridges to nowhere, “Reed said as quoted in a story on Greenwire.  “We have to make investments that to something significant, that relieve traffic congestion and make transportation more sustainable.”  Reed spoke at the National Press Club’s meeting releasing a 176-city survey that examined how cities were handling and organizing transportation.

Ninety-three percent of the mayors surveyed called for reforming the current federal transportation budget allocation to allow cities to get more direct funding.

Eighty percent stated that highway construction or expansion should be a low priority.

Ninety-eight percent see investing in sustainable transportation infrastructure and redesign as a major part in their city’s economic recovery and growth.

Basically, the majority of mayors not only see transportation, if done right, as a tool for rebuilding economically and socially.  Doing transportation “right”, it would seem form the survey, means looking at the whole picture, not simply the motorized vehicle part of it, no longer making sustainability optional, and building today’s transportation systems to last much longer than tomorrow.  If Atlanta can do that, so can Seattle – the city, after all, with a name that reflects its lean towards green!

 

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