Just Words, Mr. President?

Barack Obama is justly renowned for his speaking style; he chooses his
words with professorial precision. But on today’s featured Streetsblog Network post, the NRDC‘s Deron Lovaas, writing at The Infrastructurist,
points out that the president used the "H" word — that would be
"highways" — inaccurately during a recent visit to the USDOT:

2679715060_146174080d.jpgPhoto by robotbrainz via Flickr.

[Obama] offered some inspiring words
about the infrastructure investments in the recovery bill that he just
signed into law. Unfortunately, he erred in terming the largest single
category of funding in those provisions — $27.5 billion of Surface
Transportation Program (STP) monies — "highway" spending… This is
not just highway money and we shouldn’t refer to it as such. Congress
wisely used STP as the vehicle for this investment, knowing that this
is a highly flexible way to funnel money into infrastructure. Why?
Because there are fifteen eligible uses for the funding.

Those uses, as Lovaas notes, include bike and pedestrian infrastructure, as well as environmental clean-up projects.

Positive USDOT news from the network: the Bicycle Coalition of Philadelphia
passes along word of the appointment of Roy Kienitz as the department’s
undersecretary for policy. Kienitz is deputy chief of staff to PA
governor (and progressive transportation booster) Ed Rendell, and the
former director of the Surface Transportation Policy Project.

Plus, Ryan Avent at The Bellows turns an economist’s eye on the nation’s declining vehicle miles traveled, and explores the idea of a traffic congestion "tipping point," courtesy of a post at CEOs for Cities. And EcoVelo thinks it’s some kind of a sign that Wal-mart is marketing a $132 bike as a "commuter" model.

  • “EcoVelo thinks it’s some kind of a sign that Wal-mart is marketing a $132 bike as a “commuter” model.”

    It would be a better sign if they started to locate Wal-marts in places where they would be accessible by bicycle.

  • Well, under California law, at least, streets and highways are synonyms! Maybe we can optimistically assume he meant the “highway includes street” sense from the vehicle code.

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