But far too many of America’s DOTs believe, every bit as much now as they did in the 1960s, that closer-in neighborhoods ought to sacrifice their quality of life to make room for the cars of people who live farther out. And sometimes sacrifice their physical homes and businesses.
As a result of this zombie ideology, there are highway boondoggles underway right now in the U.S. that stand to condemn thousands of properties, widen freeways that isolate poor and/or non-white neighborhoods, increase pollution and carbon emissions, and recharge the vicious cycle of outward expansion of our insolvent suburban development pattern. We’ve written about some of these, and we’ve shared good articles by friends of ours, but here’s a roundup of five of the worst offenders. Think of it as a hall of shame.
One other thing: There’s been a good deal of hype and press this year around the prospect of federal money for the removal of destructive urban freeways. But when push came to shove, the bipartisan infrastructure bill passed in August shrank this program’s budget from $20 billion to only $1 billion, while allocating $110 billion for new spending on roads and bridges.
Is it 2021 or 1961?
Here are a few appalling projects on the table this year, not 60 years ago. The good news is that none of them are proceeding without fierce opposition. The bad news is some or all may still get built.