Obama: The Days Of ‘Building Sprawl Forever’ Are Over

Here at The Wonk Room, we’ve been arguing that building new highways with stimulus dollars would be a counterproductive use of the funding. Today, President Barack Obama agreed:

I’d like to see high-speed rail where it can be constructed. I would like for us to invest in mass transit because, potentially, that’s energy efficient, and I think people are a lot more open now to thinking regionally in terms of how we plan our transportation infrastructure. The day’s where we’re just building sprawl forever, those days are over. I think that Republicans, Democrats, everybody recognizes that that’s not a smart way to design communities.

Watch it:

Not everybody recognizes it, though. The Senate trimmed $3.6 billion — almost a third — of the mass transit funding out of the stimulus bill, relative to the House’s version. Of course, the House started by pairing $30 billion for highways with just $12 for transit. While some of this could be legitimately used to fix old and imperiled roads, it shows the extent to which Congress has equated “job” with “highway construction worker.”