Who Needs an Atlanta Streetcar? “Most Americans Prefer to Drive”Decatur Metro | October 25, 2010
A recent op-ed in the Washington Examiner by Marc Scribner criticizes the Federal Government’s recent TIGER II grants – which included $47 million awarded Atlanta’s streetcar project – for spending more money on rail and bicycle projects than on roads. Here’s a snippet to get your dander up…
A debate between Smart Growth and traffic efficiency advocates has raged for decades in the transportation policy community. Since the early 1990s, federal transportation planning has been dominated by the Smart Growth set. They claim they just want to level the playing field for pedestrians, cyclists, and transit riders.
However, there is one major problem: Most Americans prefer to drive. In essence, Smart Growth advocates are attacking a problem that is greatly overstated—a lack of non-auto infrastructure and access—and making the far more serious congestion problem significantly worse.
Smart Growth proponents have much to be thankful for, as less than a third of TIGER II’s $600 million in grants went to road projects. In fact, more money went to livability – enhancing projects such as rail transit and bicycle trails – than to roads. But grants were not evenly distributed. Five of the least cost effective projects received one-fifth of total funding.
Downtown Atlanta Streetcar $47,667,777
Sugar House Streetcar (Salt Lake City) $26,000,000
New Haven Downtown Crossing $16,000,000
Razorback Regional Greenway (NW Arkansas) $15,000,000
Warehouse District Complete Streets Project (Peoria, Illinois) – $10,000,000