Hi Tim, thank you for your thoughtful response. We really appreciate your engagement of these issues.
We’re not sure where you read this to be a strategy for the east and west coasts alone; last time we checked, there were plenty of resource-starved communities in the great heart of the nation that would benefit from rural connectivity through broadband access, small-town and regional transit funding, street improvements to restore walkability and improve bike access, parks, and critically needed stormwater management systems to protect places from flooding. Of course, there are also large cities in the Midwest and non-coastal West that could use a shot of adrenaline for their public transit and rail systems.
We were confused about one phrase you used: “public surface transportation infrastructure.” Is that a euphemism for roads? Aren’t transit, rail, bikeways, and sidewalks public surface transportation infrastructure?
The Interstate highway removals do affect large cities, yes. But we’re not talking about lifting segments of the Interstate from places that really need those roads. For the most part we are talking about failing structures near the end of their useful life for which the urgent question is, “Rebuild or tear down?” And there are unsavory histories of community fragmentation and severed waterfronts behind many of these urban segments. You can read more here: https://www.cnu.org/our-projects/highways-boulevards
I can understand your alarm that conventional roads are not in our budget. It’s kind of how those of us who care about transit, bicycling, and walking have felt about federal transportation budgets over the years.