What does a #NoNewRoads approach look like when it turns into public policy? It would look a lot like a proposal being put forward by Idaho Democrats at their state legislature.
Idaho’s Transportation System is falling apart. If it were a house, the roof would be collapsing. For years, we have been building additions onto this house, but failing to “fix the roof.”
The proposal includes additional revenue but, most importantly, dramatically changes the priority for how all transportation revenue is to be spent.
Substantive Reform – Prioritize Maintenance Over Expansion
Additionally, under our plan, substantive reform is essential to bringing our spending under control. We need to temporarily stop constructing new lane miles until the current system is sustainably maintained. Continuing to over-leverage ourselves is both poor public policy and it is against the interests of our children. We must “fix the roof” first before we start building additions to the house that is Idaho’s transportation system.
This is a lot like the approach adopted by the (more Republican leaning) Tennessee DOT that we shared in January. It even uses the same analogy TDOT Commissioner John Schroer used about fixing the roof.
This is some serious momentum and it shows, once again, that being fiscally prudent and sensible is not a partisan issue. We all understand what needs to happen here: we need to maintain and make better use of what we have before we build more. Letting our highways fall apart while we spend billions to make marginal, politically-driven, expansions is reckless.
Props to Idaho. And props to all of you in the Strong Towns movement helping to share this message. We've got the momentum because we're on the right side of an unavoidable reality.