US DoT Secretary Foxx Gets It

Does he ever.

He recently gave an amazing speech to the Transportation Research Board where he directly talked about the mistakes of infrastructure design that divided, destroyed, and segregated rather than united. Barriers rather than seams.

“Imagine overpasses that are more than just North-South through-puts.  Imagine infrastructure that is more inviting and complementary spaces on both sides of them.  Imagine more meaningful public input processes that capture the views of the public early enough where that input can actually play a role in the building of new transportation…Transportation is more than just a throughput. It’s placemaking.  We have the power to transform places through inclusive design.”

Feel free to skip to the 23:00 minute mark where he begins to talk about how we are presented with the opportunity to undo all of the damage bad infrastructure has done to our cities.

The Road to Opportunity – Anthony Foxx, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation from The Academies on Vimeo.

He didn’t stop there, touching on just about every reform necessary for overhauling how we plan, design, fund, and measure our infrastructure policies.  Check the article at Governing dot com for a full write-up.  Key points:

  • “We built highways and railways and airports that literally carved up communities, leaving bulldozed homes, broken dreams and in fact sapping many families of the one asset they had: their home,” he said.
  • Foxx called for an overhaul of the way the federal government doles out transportation money. He said the current system, which distributes money primarily through states, “prevents local governments from being able to effectively address some of the most important issues facing their communities.”
  • He also argued that money should be distributed based on current demand for services, not by predetermined formulas. The federal government spends 80 percent of its money on roads and highways, yet demand is shifting — especially among younger Americans — to car-sharing, transit, bicycling and walking.

I have a new hero.

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