"Zombie Highways"; Not as cool as they sound

Posted: April 2nd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 1 Comment »

Here’s a fun side-note follow-up to last week’s freeway discussion.  From GOOD.is:

Why Are We Paying States to Build Highways Expensively and Indefinitely?

GOOD Blog > Siobhan O’Connor on August 11, 2009 at 8:23 am PDT
In the 1960s, a system was authorized by LBJ that put lots of money in Appalachian state coffers. Aiming to reduce the isolation and inconvenience of some of America’s poorest areas, the Appalachian Development Highway System was going to accomplish this by building thousands of miles of blacktop, largely at the federal government’s expense. On approved projects, the feds fork over four dollars for each one spent by the state. Four and a half decades have passed and, guess what? The system still exists. It’s the subject of a new piece by our friends at WNET called Zombie Highways.

The program has been informally dubbed “cost-to-complete,” which tells you a little something about how it works. “States have an incentive to add more and more highways to the program, build them as expensively as possible – and never finish them, because doing so would ‘turn off that federal spigot of money,'” writes WNET’s Rick Karr.

This episode, which you can watch here, looks at a proposed 52-mile Alabama stretch of road that would cost taxpayers over $3 billion. Talk about a questionable allocation of resources.

Sort of explains why they’re “always building something”.  Additional lanes that don’t reduce traffic at all, just so that the state can keep getting funding.  How about a law that gives dollars for NOT building wasteful projects?

One Comment on “"Zombie Highways"; Not as cool as they sound”

  1. 1 America Loves Transit « [This Blog Needs a New Name] said at 10:39 am on April 8th, 2010:

    […] math behind federal funding for mass transit, but I’m sure it could benefit from some of the programs being used for endless highway build-outs. More than four-in-five voters (82 percent) say that […]