15 April 2009

Mad at Mass

This makes me so angry! The Boston Globe reports that "Massachusetts has been allocated $135 million for bike and pedestrian funding since 1991, and has used $51.1 million."

"Durrant said the historically low rate of spending on bike and pedestrian projects in Massachusetts reflects decisions by past administrations to channel every available dollar to highways, especially the Big Dig, the $15 billion Central Artery/Third Harbor Tunnel project."

When people complain that we don't have the bike infrastructure to accommodate a bike share, the main reason cited is that the money doesn't exist to create one. But it turns out it DOES! Garrrrr!

1 comment:

dr2chase said...

If you noticed in the article, a lot of it has to do with the whole "local control" thing. We're trying to get a path put through part of the town I live in, and getting it to happen is this ridiculous dance with abutters (who have concerns, most of them quite reasonable), the MBTA (who owns tracks), DCR (who will actually make it happen) and the town itself (involved with permitting, asking for the money, etc.) We can't make solid plans or make solid commitments to abutters without talking to the MBTA, the MBTA isn't ready to talk to us until we have solid plans, and in the middle of all of this we are supposed to generate community support before the state frees up money.

You would like to think that it could just be done on a checklist: visual privacy, runoff, contaminated land, wetlands, go, but so far, not.

It's also partly a consequence of Prop 2.5 -- because local preparation and spending gate the use of federal money, and because prop 2.5 artificially impoverishes towns and cities, the federal money doesn't get spent.

The previous day's article on extending the Green Line to Medford was also instructive; some people just don't like change, and somehow, bizarrely, think that "those people" will only come to town using transport that is not automobiles (friends who've lived here longer say the same was true when the Red Line was not extended further -- people in Arlington wanted to "preserve property values", which, in fact, they did -- unlike Davis Square, where prices went up quite a bit).