Transpo/Infrastructure Bills Don't Address the Needs

THE DOCTOR IS IN - It's no shock to anyone who's paid attention to traffic, housing and American migration patterns, and the overall worsening rich/poor divide that there are dramatic changes in the needs of transportation and infrastructure.

Here's the good news: in early October, Congress and the Senate passed a focused transportation bill. 

And here's the bad news: the bill was focused on a reprieve to 3,700 Department of Transportation workers who were recently furloughed. No new projects, no maintenance of old projects, and no beefing up the bridges, roads, and rail projects that sorely need an operational, economic, and constructive shot in the arm.

And although a Google search will highlight only the aforementioned furlough-related bill, and not the $3.5 trillion, or a $2.9 trillion, or whatever trillion-dollar bill (REALLY, Google? Media-manipulation, much?), our nation's ability to "keep our eye on the ball" for REAL T/I bills will run askew with internal bickering and voter/taxpayer fury.

Or maybe with a $4.5 trillion tax bill rammed down America's throat, with both moderate-conservative Democrats, Independents, and Republicans collectively horrified by this naked partisan/political deal meant to do so much beyond true T/I measures.

Because we've played this game before. We've travelled down this path before. And we've been burned so many times before.

The recall of Governor Newsom? Meant to address our inability to keep our state' fires at bay, meant to avoid a homeless crisis that is destroying our state's ability to economically thrive, and meant to address the misery of the middle-class dumb enough to stay in the Once-Golden State, and meant to keep our infrequent rain from staying in reservoirs and raising our state's water table. 

All thrown asunder because of COVID.

The Build Back Better (what the heck does that even mean to most Americans?) with social programming and unproven "alternative energy" sources? Future T/I enthusiasm and funding will certainly plummet.

Our lack of reservoirs and water management because of the minority of misanthropes controlling our state and nation's T/I efforts? Future T/I enthusiasm and funding will certainly plummet.

The smacking around of agriculture that provides food for the state and nation? Future T/I enthusiasm and funding will certainly plummet.

The rise in gasoline and energy/utility costs, all because we've spat on those fighting for energy independence? Future T/I enthusiasm and funding will certainly plummet.

The ignorance  and dismissal of remote commuting, and the flood of Americans fleeing to more rural counties and states because they (gasp!) want affordable housing and (gasp!) want a larger condo or even a house to meet their quality-of-life needs? Future T/I enthusiasm and funding will certainly plummet.

Mass transit becoming a refuge for the homeless? Future T/I enthusiasm and funding will certainly plummet.

Road diets and allowing our soaring number of homeless to throng on our sidewalks and roads? Future T/I enthusiasm and funding will certainly plummet.

The destruction of middle-class jobs that results in more homeless and middle-class housing? Future T/I enthusiasm and funding will certainly plummet. 

The California So-Called High-Speed Train built with T/I funds at the expense of local Metro Rail and Metrolink/Commuter Rail funds that is a higher priority for most Californians? Future T/I enthusiasm and funding will certainly plummet.

No one in their right mind wants our roads, bridges, sidewalks, rail, fire/water/electricity management, etc. to fail. 

But being fleeced and lied to with endless bait-and-switches about so-called T/I bills and so-called T/I initiatives will lead to only one thing:

Future T/I enthusiasm and funding will certainly plummet. 


(Kenneth S. Alpern, M.D, is a dermatologist who has served in clinics in Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside Counties, and is a proud husband and father to two cherished children and a wonderful wife. He was termed out of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC) twice after two stints as a Board member for 8-9 years and is also a Board member of the Westside Village Homeowners Association. He previously co-chaired the MVCC Outreach, Planning, and Transportation/Infrastructure Committees. He was previously co-chair of the CD11 Transportation Advisory Committee, the grassroots Friends of the Green Line (which focused on a Green Line/LAX connection), and the nonprofit Transit Coalition, and can be reached at [email protected]. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Dr. Alpern.)