Highways to Hell

The Republicans dropped a log today that they euphemistically called a “Transportation Bill,” and to no one’s surprise it’s a monument to Teabaggery, etched in asphalt.  You see, it isn’t enough to just hate gays, the poor, Muslims, and all the usual suspects,  constantly expressing that hate in every utterance, but it turns out that even the transportation policies of Ronald Reagan have gained a suspicious patchouli scent, which can only be dispelled with a blast of exhaust fumes.  (Not GM or Chrysler fumes, ’cause they’re commie, too….)

In yet another bold return to 1953, the Republicans have found something that combines their anti-environmentalism with their loathing of urban people as a group: defunding all mass transit.  Not content with chopping the administration-proposed bill in half, and thus ensuring that it couldn’t possibly improve the jobs picture before November, it also zeroes out the paltry 20% of highway funds that has been dedicated to mass transit since 1982.  Cuts for Amtrak, as well as funding for urban rail systems, could, in their charming but typical poison pill, be funded out of royalties from offshore drilling everywhere, but otherwise, zip.  Take that, you latte-sipping subway riders; get yourself a SUV like a Real American.  And for good measure, no funding for pedestrian or bicycle improvements, either, saving about 1/4 of one cent for every American, but striking a blow for Gas Pump Jesus.

One would be tempted to think this is a dumb political move, given how our high oil consumption dooms us to an endless cycle of recessions when the price spikes, and the programs themselves amount to barely a rounding error in the overall budget.  One could further think that given our current obesity epidemic, actively making it harder for people to walk or ride bikes is as idiotic as it is short-sighted.  Alas, you’d be wrong.  Bad policy outcomes, for Republicans, aren’t bad by accident, but design.  You see, the more auto-dependent people are, the less time they have to read newspapers, the less likely they are to interact with people different from them, and the less likely they are to care about what flashes past through the windshield, hideous though it increasingly is.  People battered by recession are more prone to abandon their fellow citizens.  And the fatter you are, the more likely it is you’ll spend you life sitting on the couch, watching Fox.  Thus, people who walk, ride a bike, or, worse, take a subway, are potential enemies who must be demonized, and if possible, eliminated.

Luckily for the oil companies who finance such lunacy, it turns out that back in the 90′s the dreaded UN came up with a plan, called Agenda 21, which called for a slight ratcheting back of the destructive auto-centric policies of the last 60 years through preservation of rural areas, increased mass transit, and pedestrian-friendly development.  Since the vaunted “free market” had already begun to shift that way, owing more to the awfulness of life shackled to the blacktopped sprawl than to any commie tree-hugger concerns, the UN might have been smarter to keep its mouth shut.  Now, the stupid, failed, and direly unsustainable experiment with car-only transportation has turned into a sacred cow, right up there with unborn babies and overtaxed heiresses, and the GOP is hitting the gas on hitting the gas.

Never mind that the distant suburbs, with their expensive, land-eating roads and their shoddy, disposable houses, have led and continue to exacerbate the mortgage crisis, creating brand-new slums in places that should probably have been left alone.  Never mind that, with some exceptions, older, more walkable places served by mass transit have held their value and continue to be engines of the struggling economy.  The point here is that a tiny bit of the budget was being spent, however wisely, on things (and more importantly, people) that the GOP doesn’t like, and profits politically from attacking.  For Republicans, that’s all that matters.



  1. Annice says:

    This just irks me! Just think of all the jobs that could of been created, they are not thinking with the right head!

  2. cocktailhag says:

    Well, we certainly saw his coming when Medicare fraudster Rick Scott of Florida, 800 pound Chris Christie of New Jersey, and Hair Club dropout Scott Walker of Wisconsin all righteously turned down federal funds for rail projects, effectively sending the money to smarter states. (All are still, unsurprisingly, saddled with horrible and not decreasing unemployment rates…)
    Cutting off the nose to spite the face is the Republican way.

  3. nancy says:

    do you have a link? where have i been today that i missed this bit of genius?

  4. Ché Pasa says:

    They’re still fuming over the Light Bulbs Thing.

    Lashing out in their futile effort to imitate relevance. No more pansy Lite Rail for the rest of us unless they can’t rely on tungsten filaments till Dooooomsday.

    It’s got to be in Scripture somewhere!

    • cocktailhag says:

      Not anything so modern as tungsten. I used to be in the light bulb business, and what they like is more like the greasy thread Edison used. Tungsten is way too new for Righties to embrace. Give them a century or three; like with Galileo.

  5. nancy says:

    My dog. these two things are attached? shoot me now. keystone and mass transit. now there’s a true american irony. over and out.

    • cocktailhag says:

      It’s actually two ironies; the cuckoo House came up with something not cuckoo enough for the Senate, so they came up with something worse. It’s the last scene of a slasher movie.

  6. michlib says:

    Ever notice the enormity of waistlines in red-state obesity champs like Louisiana, Mississippi, etc.? XL Pipeline – so named to identify the hoped for waistband size resulting from tea party energy policy.
    Good to see that Newt has identified our latest bette noir – SUBWAY riding elites in New York. This from a “human” who only engages in running when confronted with a terminally ill spouse. Those Republicans sure are something.

    • cocktailhag says:

      Actually, though CHNN tries to be PC in all ways, our editorial policy still embraces open season on the fat. And drunks. And (ickier) cocktailhags. Takes one to know one, as well as skewer them.

    • cocktailhag says:

      I read that; pretty unsurprising. What’s worse is that the people deceiving the rubes aren’t dumb at all. They know better, but they say complete horseshit because their followers don’t.