News Politics Transportation

I’m confused…someone please clarify

Here is an email I received from Millvalley…

No surprise: we’re driving less — about 4.3% fewer miles than last year, the first annual decline since 1979and the largest yearly decline on record.

On the other hand, public transportation use is now at its highest level in fifty years, with rail systems showing 6% year-over-year gains.

Our region is not reacting to these trends aggressively enough.

Let me explain. The Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments is now updating its 2030 Plan, a document that guides investment in transportation projects here. Ohio and Kentucky will be spending about $4.4 billion over the next couple decades on new and improved roadways, transit, bike and pedestrian programs, freight and information technology systems. Another $2.5 billion will be spent on the operations and maintenance of our mobility systems.

Kentucky expects to invest $1.4 billion on roadway projects compared to only $22 million on transit — fully 63 as much on a mode of travel that is declining nationwide compared to one that is growing. Ohio’s program is a little more balanced. Projected spending for roadways is $2.3 billion. While transit is nominally slated to receive $509 million, about $410 million of this sum is for the Eastern Corridor rail project which, in my view, has little chance of ever getting built. If it does get built, the numbers show that it will be a very poor performer. So that leaves about $99 million for all other transit projects for the next couple of decades. It’s still heavily lopsided in favor of roads — in Ohio, we’ll $23 for highways for every $1 spent on transit.

I’m just wondering if this would fly in the private sector? I tend to say no, but I am confused as to why this is accepted from our government?

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By Randy A. Simes

Randy is an award-winning urban planner who founded UrbanCincy in May 2007. He grew up on Cincinnati’s west side in Covedale, and graduated from the University of Cincinnati’s nationally acclaimed School of Planning in June 2009. In addition to maintaining ownership and serving as the managing editor for UrbanCincy, Randy has worked professionally as a planning consultant throughout the United States, Korea and the Middle East. After brief stints in Atlanta and Chicago, he currently lives in the Daechi neighborhood of Seoul’s Gangnam district.