The Age of Neoliberalism at its End

Obama’s budget stands in opposition to thirty years of failed subsidies to the private sector

Though President Obama’s first budget proposal, whose rough outlines were released yesterday, doesn’t say much about his transportation proposals, it does provide insight into our country’s new direction overall.

America’s fundamental problem is that it has allowed income inequality to increase rapidly over the past four decades, especially as compared to that in other developed nations. Because of our generous corporate tax breaks, lack of national health care, and inferior education system, we have simply made the problem worse, exasperating the plight of the poor and encouraging the rich to continue enriching themselves – but not the economy as a whole.

Since World War II, the world’s developed economies have provided increasing standards of living to their inhabitants, but at a slowly mounting cost. Pressure by private interests in recent decades has sacrificed many of those gains

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How the Next Budget Stacks Up

Huge budget provides billions to transportation, but doesn’t appear to mark sea change in vision for U.S. mobility

The Obama administration has officially released its budget outline, which provides a summary of how the federal government will spend money in fiscal year 2010 (from July 2009 to July 2010). It also provided some information about how it intends to use its limited funds over the next 10 years. Here is what we know so far:

The bill will “increase” funding to public transit, focusing on public transportation’s environmental benefits,
It will provide $1 billion a year for at least five years for high-speed rail, above the $8 billion already authorized from the stimulus bill
It will form a national infrastructure bank, such as Mr. Obama proposed during the campaign, which will be funded by $5 billion in appropriations over the next 5 years

Note that the information we have right now is the preliminary budget

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Competitors for High-Speed Rail Grants

States all around the country see themselves as likely qualifying for HSR grants, but we’ll have to wait a few months to see which projects get funding

The economic stimulus bill included $8 billion for high-speed rail projects. Though Republicans continue to repeat the lie that the funding has already been earmarked for a maglev project between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, the truth is that there are a large number of corridors around the country that are likely to apply for funds. Here are the projects whose sponsors have mentioned in the news as being interested in applying for the funds (no specific order here):

California High-Speed Rail Project – First phase of the project would connect Anaheim and San Francisco, via Los Angeles, Fresno, Bakersfield, and San Jose. The State Authority managing the project will ask for $2 billion of the funds to be used for construction before

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Canada Considers Québec-Windsor HSR Corridor, Again

High-speed line running through Toronto and Montréal getting another think-over

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty said yesterday that Canadian Prime Minister Steven Harper is frowning on the idea of a high-speed rail line between Québec City and Windsor, via Montréal and Toronto, reports the Canadian Press. Mr. McGuinty, along with his centrist Liberal Party ally Québec Premier Jean Charest, have been strong supporters of the line, which would do quite a bit to connect the biggest cities in the two provinces. Mr. Harper’s conservative party has been notoriously uninterested in the project over the past twenty years of proposals, though recently the conservatives made a few moves that indicated they were interested in supporting the line.

Conservatives have agreed to spend $3 million to study the 1,200 km corridor once again. It will be considered by Wilbur Smith, an engineering consulting firm; Deutsche Bahn, the German rail operator; and a few

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Mr. Obama's Address to Congress Avoids Transportation Issues, but Mr. Jindal's Reaction Repeats GOP Vegas HSR Lie

Hints at broad interest in nation-building at home

Last night, President Barack Obama addressed the nation in a pseudo-State of the Union address in front of a joint session of Congress, with the Supreme Court and the Cabinet in attendance. His comments, meant to encourage the nation in this period of collective doldrums, were focused on energy, health care, and education, with a small element at the end focused on foreign affairs. In his 52-minute speech, he didn’t address how transportation is an integral element of the energy problem, but he did mention public transportation when talking about the stimulus bill:

“Over the next two years, this plan will save or create 3.5 million jobs.  More than 90% of these jobs will be in the private sector – jobs rebuilding our roads and bridges; constructing wind turbines and solar panels; laying broadband and expanding mass transit.”

That said, he did suggest that it

Continue reading Mr. Obama's Address to Congress Avoids Transportation Issues, but Mr. Jindal's Reaction Repeats GOP Vegas HSR Lie »

The Site / The Fight

  • by Yonah Freemark
  • Twitter: @yfreemark
  • yfreemark (at) thetransportpolitic (dot) com
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