Met Council 2040 Transportation Policy Plan (TPP)

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Met Council 2040 Transportation Policy Plan (TPP)

Postby twincitizen » August 19th, 2014, 3:08 pm

The draft of the 2040 TPP is now available for review and comment now through October 1.

http://www.metrocouncil.org/Transportat ... Draft.aspx

Several workshops will be held across the region between now and September 25.
Of interest to this group would be the following dates:

HENNEPIN COUNTY
Thursday, September 4, 12 – 2 pm
Minneapolis Central Library
300 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, 55401


ANOKA COUNTY
Tuesday, September 9 , 5 – 7 pm
Anoka County Sheriff’s Office
Community Room
13301 Hanson Blvd NW
Andover, MN 55304

HENNEPIN COUNTY
Wednesday, September 10, 5 – 7 pm
Brookdale Library
6125 Shingle Creek Pkwy
Brooklyn Center, 55430

RAMSEY COUNTY
Thursday, September 11, 12 – 2 pm
Amherst H. Wilder Foundation
Auditorium A
451 Lexington Parkway North
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55104

DAKOTA COUNTY
Tuesday, September 16, 5 – 7 pm
Eagan Community Center
1501 Central Pkwy
Eagan, MN 55121

The public hearing is September 17 at 5 p.m.
The public hearing on the draft TPP is scheduled for 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 17, in the Metropolitan Council Chambers, 390 Robert St. N., Saint Paul.

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Re: Met Council 2040 Transportation Policy Plan (TPP)

Postby EOst » August 19th, 2014, 3:48 pm

Midtown This corridor links the existing METRO Blue Line Lake Street Station with planned METRO Green Line West Lake Station along the 29th Street Greenway through south Minneapolis. The corridor was studied through an Alternatives Analysis that concluded with a recommended locally preferred alternative of rail in the Midtown Greenway combined with the
proposed Arterial BRT on Lake Street. The recommended locally preferred alternative will be considered through a future amendment to the Transportation Policy Plan.

Nicollet-Central This corridor in Minneapolis was studied through an Alternatives Analysis that concluded in late 2013 with a recommended locally preferred alternative of modern streetcar. The LPA is under consideration for potential funding commitments in anticipation of being amended into the plan. The modern streetcar would provide circulation through the core of the city from Lake Street to at least 5th Street NE along Nicollet Avenue, Nicollet Mall, and Hennepin/1st Avenues. It would connect with the METRO Blue and Green lines in downtown. The environmental review phase is currently underway and is expected to be completed in early 2015.
Both of these sound relatively optimistic.

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Re: Met Council 2040 Transportation Policy Plan (TPP)

Postby EOst » August 19th, 2014, 3:57 pm

This is also the nicest-looking fantasy transit map I've seen from the Met Council, even if it's mostly highway BRT:

Image

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Re: Met Council 2040 Transportation Policy Plan (TPP)

Postby woofner » August 19th, 2014, 10:32 pm

Keep in mind that this is their vision for what transportation in the Twin Cities will look like 25 years from today. In that light, the lack of vision for higher capacity transit service in major job centers such as Southdale and the 494 strip, as well as for high speed transit between the downtowns, would seem to condemn transit to a continued irrelevance in the Twin Cities. I have only glanced through the document so far and am primarily relying on the maps, but I'm shocked to see that important secondary job centers in Plymouth, Eagan, and Shoreview don't even get the kitchen scrap transit service of Arterial or Highway BRT. I hope that my first impression is wrong, but this document seems to show Sue Haigh's Met Council treading water in an irresponsibly dangerous way, considering the role that transportation plays in climate change, health, and equity issues. I mean, the discussion on land use and transit is cool, but they then make little attempt to connect these ideas to the actual city we live in. I want to see maps of 2040 transitways and arterial BRT overlaid on a base of projected 2040 job and residential density.
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Re: Met Council 2040 Transportation Policy Plan (TPP)

Postby EOst » August 20th, 2014, 6:28 am

The map I posted above is what they can do if they get much more money than they're expecting. The alternative map (eg. if Republicans win the statehouse, or control the Presidency, etc.) is a lot barer.

Frankly, I don't think you understand the fiscal challenges here.

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Re: Met Council 2040 Transportation Policy Plan (TPP)

Postby woofner » August 20th, 2014, 10:54 am

Frankly, I don't think you understand what the purpose of a vision is. A policy plan should properly focus on needs, prioritizing projects for legislators to later identify funding for.

But if we look at your "fiscal constraints" excuse, it fails to account for the continued borrowing capacity from sales taxes captured by CTIB. Very few plans in the modern governmental financing era ignore the ability to continue to finance projects from a revenue sources as bonds are retired. Even the "increased revenue scenario" in this plan, however, only envisions projects that are funded in the first round of bonding from CTIB. That's why the vision is so front-loaded. That's not to mention that it ignores continued efforts to raise new sources of transit capital funding, the most recent iteration of which was MoveMN. I refuse to conflate political and fiscal concerns as you do, but given the success of similar initiatives in the majority of peer cities, I see a centrist transportation revenue raising initiative having as much political traction as right-wing obstructionism.

By the way, it's extremely arrogant to assert that I don't understand the "fiscal challenges". You don't know me or how regularly I read state and THUD budgets as they're passed. Besides that, I think you mean political challenges, as the funding required here is a rounding error when compared to total state spending over 25 years.
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Re: Met Council 2040 Transportation Policy Plan (TPP)

Postby EOst » August 20th, 2014, 12:07 pm

woofner wrote:Frankly, I don't think you understand what the purpose of a vision is. A policy plan should properly focus on needs, prioritizing projects for legislators to later identify funding for.
What do you imagine that we have here, if not that? If it isn't as comprehensive and optimistic as the one you're suggesting, it is because what you're suggesting is comically overly optimistic. The Increased Revenue Scenario is a huge improvement on the existing transit capacity of the Twin Cities, and is already more than anyone who watches the Legislature thinks is going to happen.
woofner wrote:But if we look at your "fiscal constraints" excuse, it fails to account for the continued borrowing capacity from sales taxes captured by CTIB. Very few plans in the modern governmental financing era ignore the ability to continue to finance projects from a revenue sources as bonds are retired.
What corridors not included in the Increased Revenue Scenario do you honestly think could be made in addition to those using CTIB funds? Be specific, and remember that CTIB has all but ruled out contributing to things like arterial BRT.
woofner wrote:Even the "increased revenue scenario" in this plan, however, only envisions projects that are funded in the first round of bonding from CTIB.
The Increased Revenue scenario includes the full aBRT network and the full highway BRT network. That is definitely not funded right now by the CTIB.
woofner wrote:That's not to mention that it ignores continued efforts to raise new sources of transit capital funding, the most recent iteration of which was MoveMN.
But that's not what this is about; if those new sources of revenue are ever actually passed (which is far from certain) the plan will be amended. Assuming new sources of revenue when they're highly uncertain would be irresponsible.
woofner wrote:I refuse to conflate political and fiscal concerns as you do, but given the success of similar initiatives in the majority of peer cities, I see a centrist transportation revenue raising initiative having as much political traction as right-wing obstructionism.
Maybe you'll prove me wrong someday, but I highly doubt it. You can point to, for example, Measure R in Los Angeles, but I can point to Prop 1 in Seattle. Transit funding is a hard fight, precisely because of the political concerns. That goes from hard to nearly impossible if we get a Republican statehouse this fall, which isn't unlikely.
woofner wrote:By the way, it's extremely arrogant to assert that I don't understand the "fiscal challenges". You don't know me or how regularly I read state and THUD budgets as they're passed. Besides that, I think you mean political challenges, as the funding required here is a rounding error when compared to total state spending over 25 years.
I'm sorry, but your whole demeanor here is "extremely arrogant," so it's hard for me to feel bad.

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Re: Met Council 2040 Transportation Policy Plan (TPP)

Postby woofner » August 20th, 2014, 1:38 pm

EOst wrote:If it isn't as comprehensive and optimistic as the one you're suggesting, it is because what you're suggesting is comically overly optimistic.
The Increased Revenue Scenario is already $40b. Adding a few more BRT and/or aBRT lines and a couple more LRT lines would increase it by no more than $5b. Don't be a dick and paint my vague demand for a transit vision that would allow transit to be a junior partner in the Twin Cities transportation program rather than a red-headed stepchild as "comical".
EOst wrote:The Increased Revenue Scenario is a huge improvement on the existing transit capacity of the Twin Cities, and is already more than anyone who watches the Legislature thinks is going to happen.
Name one. Considering the vast majority of the Increased Revenue Scenario is expected to actually be built in the next 10-15 years, it would have to be an extreme pessimist to not think that the whole thing could happen in 25. Again, the plan itself front-loads the projects.
EOst wrote:What corridors not included in the Increased Revenue Scenario do you honestly think could be made in addition to those using CTIB funds? Be specific, and remember that CTIB has all but ruled out contributing to things like arterial BRT.


I'm not the one being paid to come up with a vision for transit in Twin Cities in the next 25 years, but I think it's reasonable to expect LRT plans to serve the 3rd and 4th biggest job centers at Southdale and the Bloomington Strip to be developed, and I think it's reasonable to expect BRT plans to serve Plymouth, Eagan, and Shoreview to be developed. These last three could be called "highway" BRT and therefore funded with CTIB funds, but even if they were Arterial BRT they would likely cost no more than $30m a piece and be funded with a combination of CMAQ, state & local, and Regional Transit Capital funding.
EOst wrote:The Increased Revenue scenario includes the full aBRT network and the full highway BRT network. That is definitely not funded right now by the CTIB.
My point in mentioning this was not that all the projects in the plan are being funded by CTIB, but rather that only CTIB phase 1 projects are contemplated by the plan.
EOst wrote:But that's not what this is about; if those new sources of revenue are ever actually passed (which is far from certain) the plan will be amended. Assuming new sources of revenue when they're highly uncertain would be irresponsible.
Please pay closer attention to what I'm writing. The point of this document is not to analyze available revenue and come up with transit lines to spend it on. The point is to analyze the need for transit and develop lines that would serve it. How can advocates argue for new revenue if they don't have a plan saying why that revenue is needed? Consider how MnDot plans. It doesn't note that there's been a shortfall in the Federal Highway Trust Fund for the last 10 years and say "whelp, no new highways" does it?
EOst wrote:Maybe you'll prove me wrong someday, but I highly doubt it. You can point to, for example, Measure R in Los Angeles, but I can point to Prop 1 in Seattle. Transit funding is a hard fight, precisely because of the political concerns. That goes from hard to nearly impossible if we get a Republican statehouse this fall, which isn't unlikely.
Off the top of my head, Denver, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, and Charlotte are just some cities who have dedicated capital funding sources for transit, many of which are higher than our 1/4 cent sales tax. If you want to spend all afternoon researching this and proving me wrong, go ahead. By the way, a flip of the Legislature would in fact be highly unlikely given that there is no Senate election this year.
EOst wrote:I'm sorry, but your whole demeanor here is "extremely arrogant," so it's hard for me to feel bad.
If you expect people to react deferentially when you start arguments with "Frankly you don't understand...", then you operate on a plane outside of social norms. I do, however, find it amusing when arrogant people deny that they're arrogant.
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Re: Met Council 2040 Transportation Policy Plan (TPP)

Postby EOst » August 21st, 2014, 8:51 am

Instead of responding angry, I took a day off and cooled off before doing anything. I highly recommend it!
woofner wrote:The Increased Revenue Scenario is already $40b. Adding a few more BRT and/or aBRT lines and a couple more LRT lines would increase it by no more than $5b. Don't be a dick and paint my vague demand for a transit vision that would allow transit to be a junior partner in the Twin Cities transportation program rather than a red-headed stepchild as "comical".
Look, don't get me wrong, but "no more than $5b" is still a big lift. Not only is that a more than 10% increase on the overall budget, it's more than the construction costs of Hiawatha, CCLRT, and SWLRT combined. Each billion is its own battle.
woofner wrote:Name one. Considering the vast majority of the Increased Revenue Scenario is expected to actually be built in the next 10-15 years, it would have to be an extreme pessimist to not think that the whole thing could happen in 25. Again, the plan itself front-loads the projects.
Do you know anyone who thinks that we're going to have the entire arterial BRT complement, the entire highway BRT set (169, 394, 35W, 36, a very long Robert Street corridor (very long! three times the length of the Robert aBRT!), the Rush Line, the Gateway, the Red Rock, Orange Line Stage II, Red Line Stage III--that nothing is going to go wrong, no governor is going to veto funding, no Republican in the White House is going to kill federal funding for transit?
woofner wrote:I'm not the one being paid to come up with a vision for transit in Twin Cities in the next 25 years, but I think it's reasonable to expect LRT plans to serve the 3rd and 4th biggest job centers at Southdale and the Bloomington Strip to be developed, and I think it's reasonable to expect BRT plans to serve Plymouth, Eagan, and Shoreview to be developed. These last three could be called "highway" BRT and therefore funded with CTIB funds, but even if they were Arterial BRT they would likely cost no more than $30m a piece and be funded with a combination of CMAQ, state & local, and Regional Transit Capital funding.
Many of those were in fact studied in the Highway Transitway study (Eagan, for example, is the "I-35E S Corridor"). They didn't score well at all, so the evidence is that "the ones being paid to come up with a vision for transit" actually disagree with you here.
woofner wrote:My point in mentioning this was not that all the projects in the plan are being funded by CTIB, but rather that only CTIB phase 1 projects are contemplated by the plan.
CTIB Phase I is SWLRT, Bottineau, Orange Line, Robert aBRT, Gateway, and Riverview. Note, however, that the Increased Revenue Model includes such non-Phase I projects as Red Rock, extended Robert Street, the Rush Line, North Central, and the aforementioned highway BRT projects.
woofner wrote:Please pay closer attention to what I'm writing.
Et tu.
woofner wrote:The point of this document is not to analyze available revenue and come up with transit lines to spend it on. The point is to analyze the need for transit and develop lines that would serve it. How can advocates argue for new revenue if they don't have a plan saying why that revenue is needed? Consider how MnDot plans. It doesn't note that there's been a shortfall in the Federal Highway Trust Fund for the last 10 years and say "whelp, no new highways" does it.
Transit funding is starting from a position of weakness in this state and metro area already. Show any Republican legislator or gubernatorial candidate the plans in this document, and they will tell you that they want to shut it all down. Hell, show this document to a lot of DFL people, and they'd say the same thing. You and I can agree that these and more are necessary for the long-term growth and sustainability of the region, but that doesn't make them funded.

Contra what you're saying, there is in fact a danger to being too ambitious with these plans, to asking too much. Transportation planners desperately need to show that they are reasonable, that they are mindful of limited funding, that they are asking for what we need, not what we want. When you need money, you don't ask someone for $100 (even if you need that much!), you ask for whatever they can give. That's the position transportation planning is in right now.
woofner wrote:Off the top of my head, Denver, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, and Charlotte are just some cities who have dedicated capital funding sources for transit, many of which are higher than our 1/4 cent sales tax. If you want to spend all afternoon researching this and proving me wrong, go ahead.
My point is that you can't take it for granted that such a measure would pass. All the cities you've mentioned have very different circumstances from us and from each other. SLC is in a state with a tradition of Republican lawmakers who don't oppose infrastructure spending; the Denver metro is uniquely well-served by the Fastracks initiative (multiple decentralized urban cores, connected by rail corridors, as well as some of the worst congestion in the country); Phoenix has a transit funding measure because 2/3 of that money goes to building new highways, etc.
woofner wrote:By the way, a flip of the Legislature would in fact be highly unlikely given that there is no Senate election this year.
You only need one house to block a bill. A Republican MN House means the same thing as a Republican House and Senate for transportation funding; no more of it.
woofner wrote:If you expect people to react deferentially when you start arguments with "Frankly you don't understand...", then you operate on a plane outside of social norms. I do, however, find it amusing when arrogant people deny that they're arrogant.
;)

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Re: Met Council 2040 Transportation Policy Plan (TPP)

Postby mulad » August 21st, 2014, 9:17 am

We need to aim high with these plans -- there's a first-mover advantage when it comes to negotiating:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anchoring

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Re: Met Council 2040 Transportation Policy Plan (TPP)

Postby woofner » August 21st, 2014, 11:43 am

EOst wrote:Instead of responding angry, I took a day off and cooled off before doing anything. I highly recommend it!
Haha, we agree on one thing at least.

Look, I don't want to spend my whole life on a message board and I think we're arguing past each other more than anything. I'll just ask you to consider two things:

--This plan literally does exist to provide a vision for what transportation will look like in 25 years. You may believe that they made a tactical decision not to include any but the projects furthest along in planning, and you may be right and it may have been the right decision. But if so, that tactic creates an internal contradiction within the document, and those of us who disagree with that tactic have something tangible to disagree with.

--25 years is a long time, and even though historically it's taken a lot longer than 25 years to accomplish transit goals in this region, there is a strong case that things have changed in the last 10 years with the successful introduction of the Hiawatha and Central lines. I'm not used to arguing with someone who has a more pessimistic viewpoint that I do, but my personal experience leads me to believe that LRT is a powerful argument for more transit among suburbanites, and if e.g. Jeff Johnson tries to make it a campaign issue it will either lead to him not getting elected or softening his stance. So I see plenty of reason to expect the future for transit in the Twin Cities to be generally bright, and I don't see any reason why after 2025, when at least two more LRT lines, 2 or 3 highway BRT lines, and a number of aBRT lines have come online, the number of projects will suddenly drop off, as this plan envisions.
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Re: Met Council 2040 Transportation Policy Plan (TPP)

Postby froggie » August 21st, 2014, 2:32 pm

It should be noted (especially for woofner) that these plans are legally required to be fiscally constrained. Sure, they can include a "what-if" scenario (i.e. the "increased revenue scenario"), but the core of the plan must fit within the projected revenue stream. And pending/upcoming action on funding streams doesn't count....they have to assume that what we have today (modified for inflation and population growth as necessary) is what we'll have for the next 25 years.

Should the region dream big? Absolutely. But the TPP must meet fiscal reality, not fantasy.

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Re: Met Council 2040 Transportation Policy Plan (TPP)

Postby woofner » August 21st, 2014, 5:12 pm

I want to reiterate that I'm not advocating a plan that calls for LRT down every arterial, I'm advocating a plan that envisions serving the region's major job centers with some type of higher quality transit. The draft plan fails to do that.

Similarly, I pointed out that the plan also seems to fail to use the existing CTIB funding source, much less assume inflation in the sales tax source.

But I'd be grateful, froggie, if you could cite the law, because I'm curious exactly how they define what sorts of fiscal scenarios can be considered when planning for 25 years hence.
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Re: Met Council 2040 Transportation Policy Plan (TPP)

Postby froggie » August 21st, 2014, 6:54 pm

It's Federal law...dates to ISTEA, I believe. Requires MPOs to create long-range transportation plans (the TPP being the Met Council's LRTP) that are fiscally constrained.

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Re: Met Council 2040 Transportation Policy Plan (TPP)

Postby HoratioRincewind » August 22nd, 2014, 11:51 am

FHWA Resource Center PLANNING TEAM Financial Planning/Fiscal Constraint

Financial planning takes a long-range look at how transportation investments are funded, and at the possible sources of funds. State DOTs, MPOs, and public transportation operators must consider funding needs over both the 20-year period of the long-range transportation plan and the 4-year period of TIPs and STIPs. In the Statewide Transportation Plan and the MTP, state DOTs may, and MPOs must develop a financial plan that identifies funding sources for needed investments, and demonstrates the reasonably reliable means to maintain and operate the existing federally funded transportation system.

The metropolitan transportation plan, which has a minimum 20-year planning horizon, must include a financial plan that estimates how much funding will be needed to implement recommended improvements, as well as operate and maintain the system as a whole, over the life of the plan. This includes information on how the MPO reasonably expects to fund the projects included in the plan, including anticipated revenues from FHWA and FTA, state government, regional or local sources, the private sector, and user charges. The metropolitan transportation plan must demonstrate that there is a balance between the expected revenue sources for transportation investments and the estimated costs of the projects and programs described in the plan. In other words, a metropolitan plan must be fiscally (or financially) constrained....

Demonstrating fiscal constraint in planning and programming documents is not an easy task. Recent SAFETEA-LU changes related to Year-of-Expenditure dollars and cost-banding have also raised the bar. Towards that end, the RC has developed several training opportunities and tools to assist MPOS and state DOTs in achieving this goal. The Planning Team has recently assisted the FHWA California Division in providing their MPOs and Caltrans with these enhancements to improve their respective financial planning processes.

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Re: Met Council 2040 Transportation Policy Plan (TPP)

Postby woofner » August 22nd, 2014, 3:23 pm

Thanks for the further info. As I read this description, even this fiscal constraints restriction recognizes the primacy of assessing the needs for transportation facilities, it's simply saying the plan can't project that a facility will be built if there isn't a reasonable expectation of it being paid for. In other worlds, you can't plan for a straightline underground maglev facility that would cost $100b. Also the assumed tax sources have to be reasonable, but I see no reason why an MPO couldn't assume, say, a raise of a 1/4 cent transit capital funding sales tax to 1 cent (edit: not necessarily saying the Met Council should do this, just saying that the fiscal constraints restriction does not seem to be an excuse for not proposing a functional comprehensive transit system in this plan).
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Re: Met Council 2040 Transportation Policy Plan (TPP)

Postby Nick » September 8th, 2014, 6:08 pm

Here is a thing:

http://www.minnpost.com/community-voice ... way-option

Has anyone actually gone to any of these open houses? I went to one, but unfortunately missed almost the entire transit portion of the presentation because I am terrible. I'm 95% sure that the free sandwich on a platter was baloney with American cheese.

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Re: Met Council 2040 Transportation Policy Plan (TPP)

Postby HoratioRincewind » September 30th, 2014, 1:38 pm

Suburban counties rise up against Met Council

The Twin Cities’ five suburban counties are digging in their heels against the Metropolitan Council, which they say created a long-term transportation plan that essentially ignores suburban and rural needs.

At a meeting Monday, leaders from the five counties presented a rare joint response to a new Met Council transport plan, flexing their collective muscle before the council’s top leader....
We can talk to each other all we'd like about the transit future we'd like to see, but this is the reality that MetCouncil has to operate under. Changing the attitudes which have both created our current system, and which perpetuate that system needs to be the focus.

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Re: Met Council 2040 Transportation Policy Plan (TPP)

Postby mattaudio » September 30th, 2014, 1:46 pm

We're not very good at working within the constraints of reality though. We don't even have enough money to maintain the road infrastructure we have, yet people think we need to be building more - and they usually get their way.

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Re: Met Council 2040 Transportation Policy Plan (TPP)

Postby mulad » September 30th, 2014, 3:32 pm

I really hate the "we don't have enough money" line (often morphed into "we don't have any money", etc.), partly since it makes it difficult to advocate for a more balanced transportation network. Past underinvestment in transit/ped/cycling infrastructure becomes very hard to correct if folks think we don't have enough money to do anything.

I keep looking back to what the situation was a hundred years ago -- many roads between cities were little more than dirt paths which would become rutted and muddy whenever it rained. A huge amount of money has been dumped into building a road network over that past century, and now the network is practically done. It's hard for anyone who grew up during periods of massive road projects to understand that this has been an era with a fairly distinct beginning, and it seems like the end is more or less in sight. There will be new roads and highways in the future, but nothing on the scale of what came before.

Meanwhile, most other modes of transportation languished (except for air travel, I suppose, but that's also been feeling the pinch for quite a while now).

It's tough for a lot of folks to comprehend, but the highway network mostly has to go into maintenance mode, and in some cases we have to be willing to shut down roadways that just don't make sense or shrink them to more appropriately match demand. Much like road diets on urban streets, there are freeways out there that should probably be cut back in scale.

Anyway, there also has to be a tangible acknowledgement that things need to change in order to meet climate change goals. I believe the state is currently targeting only producing 20% as much carbon dioxide pollution in 2050 as it did in 2005, so that means that the 2040 goal needs to be cutting well over 50% of what we produce today. How is that going to work? Transit unfortunately isn't the magic bullet to fix that, but it's one component, and it probably won't help that goal at all to keep expanding highways.

The future is going to be different from the past, and we can't dumbly plow on ahead with simplistic ideas about 30% growth in traffic or population here or there. Things need to substantially change in our planning processes.


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