Why 345 (and all highways for that matter) Matters to all of Texas

Since I don’t have time to put up anything today, I thought I would quote from and link to a piece I wrote for the Texas Tribune earlier this year:

Given today’s political realities, there likely won’t be much more money for the type of infrastructure Texans are used to — and maybe there shouldn’t be. Removing some zeroes from the budget might make lawmakers actually have to think about how to invest wisely in the future. We must stop viewing our infrastructure woes as a problem in need of new revenue. Instead, it’s a spending and design problem. We can do more — much more — with less just by being smarter.

We’re told in scary terms that congestion costs the country about $120 billion per year, or $400 per person — a number that is consistent across cities. Our highway investment hasn’t reduced that cost, so we must think differently: Is investing trillions every few years to cut this cost a few dollars the best use of our public money when car dependence costs the country $2 trillion per year, or $6,250 per person?

We’re Texans. We like our freedom. Embedded in the concept of freedom is choice. Only when Texans have the ability to live without a car, the option of taking safe and convenient mass transit, and the ability to walk to everyday destinations will our cities be able to thrive well into the 21st century.

Happy Holidays, StreetSmarties if you don’t hear from me again until 2015.