Much has been said about the newly announced GOP transportation reauthorization proposal, but I don't think enough attention has been paid to the cover of their bill.
It's an enormous WTF. Should be in a modern art museum even.
First a quick summary of what's inside:
-33% cut to transportation (even though as the country grows, any rational bill would increase with inflation, at least)
-Elimination of funding for pedestrian/biking and HSR
-Massive cuts to Amtrak
-"Back to the basics" 80/20 funding split between highways and transit
....so what exactly does that have to do with this?
A new direction? How can something be both new and "back to the basics"? How exactly does the picture of a sprawling highway interchange, one likely built 50 years ago, in anyways be new? Is the title suggesting that highways are the future? What is being changed here? Are we supposed to be impressed? This picture may have impressed America in 1948....but today?
I mean, yes, the inside of the bill is all about highways, so it makes sense to highlight that...
But why is the highway so empty?
Are highways not well used? And if not, why are we funding them? Seems like a waste? But we know that's not true, highways are always full of cars....so why on earth show a completely desolate piece of roadway?
Is it attractive? Who looks at this cover and says "yes, government should be doing THIS!" I mean, we've built plenty of attractive highways, well, bridges usually. If you want to say "this is good", why not show a modern bridge with impressive architecture and lighting? At least pick a photo with SOME color. Look at the trees, they look dead! Hell, it looks like a black and white image where someone added the blue back in, but only the blue.
Or essentially, why use a picture that looks like it was taken 65 years ago?
Or is it some kind of meta-commentary?
The bill is all about slashing spending. Anyone who follows infrastructure maintenance can tell you that this country has not been doing it's job when it comes to maintaining roads (it's easy to find stories about bridges closed do to being unsound, lanes blocked off due to erosion, etc)
So perhaps the cover is saying this:
"If you approve our bill, then our highways will look like this....because we won't be able to maintain them, and engineers will have to close them off because the overpasses are structurally unsound"
I guess that makes sense.
On the plus side, thousands of miles of (mountain) bicycles routes will be opened up. Can't let all that empty (crumbling) pavement go to waste.