Road Pork Lobby: Please Text and Drive
Will wonders never cease? Perhaps, but today is not that day. A new smartphone app – “I’m Stuck” – developed by Building America’s Future allows people to notify their lawmakers whenever they’re stuck in traffic.
Interestingly, former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has been an outspoken opponent of engaging in such behavior:
The problem in America is our cellphones are, in a sense, like alcohol. We’re hooked on them and can’t put them down when behind the wheel of the car, when we’re driving. We’re hooked on these devices and can’t put them down, anyplace, anytime, anywhere.
The Building America’s Future group is encouraging texting while driving, well maybe it is more like text while stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic. At the drop of a hat – or in this case, as soon as a green light turns yellow or red – folks will be able to snap a photo and send it to Congress to complain.
It’s doubtful that this app will actually accomplish anything in terms of policy. Push members of Congress to “invest” more in infrastructure will likely only produce results similar to those we’re seeing from Congress today – namely, outdated infrastructure and general waste of taxpayer money.
Heritage’s Emily Goff explains:
Congress’ inability to prioritize spending out of the Highway Trust Fund to projects that cost-effectively reduce congestion, improve mobility, and promote safety—combined with the states’ newfound interest in generating transportation funds on their own–makes the case for turning the federal highway program back over to the states all the more compelling.
Frustrated motorists using the app could only hope that their members of Congress get this message: congestion is clogging many of the nation’s highways and roads; and the best way to fix that problem is to redeploy federal gas tax revenues to road projects—instead of diverting them to local, lower priority projects such as transit, scenic byways, and bicycle paths.
Rather than permitting the federal government to handle infrastructure projects that would be much better handled at the state and local level, authority should be returned to the states.
Dan Holler has explained:
There are strong and compelling arguments that the federal government should stop taking money from the states, running it through complex distribution formulas, and sending it back with strings attached. That is not the way to handle our nation’s transportation funding.
The bottom line is that an app that encourages folks to text and drive – in an effort to get more of the same failed infrastructure policies out of Washington – will likely cause more harm than good. And it’s certainly not a real solution to updating our nation’s transportation infrastructure.