The 50 happiest people in America this morning are waking up from a 20-year nightmare. You probably don’t know their names and you certainly wouldn’t recognize them in the street – they are the heads of the 50 state Departments of Transportation and they’ve just been promised a check for more than $200 billion over the next four years, no strings attached, to do what they love best: build highways.
For the last 20 years, they’ve had to pretend that they care about other things than highways, cars and trucks. But if the proposed highway bill introduced into Congress yesterday actually makes it into law, they can do away with that pretense. They won’t have to pretend to do anything for people who don’t drive cars; they’ll be able to skip through the public involvement process and environmental reviews; they can override local officials and plant an interstate in your back yard in double quick time – oh, and there will be heavier and longer trucks than ever thundering past your bedroom window, not only on those interstates but on many other roads besides.