It’s like death and taxes; whenever there is an infrastructure project floating around, the neo-Luddites clamor for a return to the pre-industrial age. You know, those wonderful, idyllic times when there were no cars in the cities and everyone was happy and content, walking everywhere and growing their own food and not needing anything from the outside.
Except…it’s arrant nonsense that removing highways in some cities will do anything other than increase costs for people in those cities, markedly increase traffic congestion, and probably increase the pedestrian and cyclist death rates.
How do these morons think stuff gets around? By magic carpet? Sure, there are highways that were built through poor neighborhoods because they didn’t have much of a voice in the decisions, but trying to repair that damage is simply impossible. The best example of this is the Cross-Bronx Expressway, built right through the middle of The Bronx, splitting and isolating neighborhoods across the entire borough. And it was a mess for a long time, but people eventually figured it out!
At least 11 cities across the country, including Austin, Texas, Baltimore, Maryland and Detroit, Michigan, are seeking federal funding from the bill to remove highways, however. Democrats argue the highways in question “had a damaging effect on urban minority communities,” according to The Wall Street Journal.
Many of the highways were built under former President Dwight Eisenhower. Activists claim that they cut through African-American communities, and caused divisions still present today. Biden’s plan seeks to allocate $20 billion for a fund to “reconnect” these communities by removing the downtown highways.
There’s a good reason for highways through cities; they allow easy access to the center of those cities for vital services like deliveries of pretty much everything. They provide access to the suburbs, and perhaps most important they keep a huge amount of traffic off of city streets.
Are they eyesores? Sure; sometimes. Have some of these highways damaged once vibrant neighborhoods? Possibly. But reducing logistical efficiency and creating a huge number of new problems is not the answer to inner city blight.
But the truth is that these plans have nothing to do with revitalizing the inner cities. Tear down the highways, then build government sponsored and funded housing and community centers and parks and all of the supposedly wonderful things that will come when the evil highways are removed. And who benefits from all of that government spending? The grifters in construction unions and local NGOs and the revolving door between government and industry and of course the politicians themselves who will get their cuts from the increased money flow.
Decrease access from the inner city to everywhere else, and what do we get? A more dependent population that has to rely on those new government programs that will of course come with the new infrastructure. It’s a vicious cycle of dependence –> poverty –> more dependence –> more poverty –> more government spending….
But that’s the point, isn’t it!