Last week, I did a post about the Indianapolis Star's dreamy-eyed editorial urging the state to redirect public money from roads to mass taransit. Somone from the Department of Transportation has now answered it, doing a much better job of destroying the illogic than I did:
Transit provides a viable alternative for travel, but it is limited. It will not reduce the need for roads in Indiana, as it only provides an alternative for some routes of travel. Therefore, maintaining and improving our road infrastructure is still a necessary part of economic development, safe travel and efficient mobility. The City of Indianapolis has identified $25 million of road and street needs per year. These needs (think potholes, turn lanes, stoplights) will not go away with the implementation of more transit.
But as noted in the editorial, gas tax revenues, the source of such road maintenance and improvements, are declining. As mentioned earlier, the federal Highway Trust Fund is facing a serious shortfall in this next fiscal year that begins in October. Because of less driving, Indiana could see $270 million less of federal highway funding, affecting both the state and local road programs.
High gasoline costs are causing people to drive less. That means less in gas-tax revenue for road repair. The Star wants to move money from road repair to public transit, to encourage people to drive even less, which will mean even less money for road repair. Of course, some people wouldn't mind that at all: Just tear up all the roads. Then, by God, people will take the bus the way they should!