Highway to heaven

Is Huckabee's highway plan the nuttiest thing to come out of this presidential election?

I don't want to speak too authoritatively, because I certainly haven't tried to catalogue every nutty thing everyone has said. But it certainly seems like a good candidate. I say that as the daughter of an avid transportation infrastructure advocate--indeed, my dad just co-authored a report on transportation finance for the next 50 years, which I hope he'll be joining me for a podcast on next week. Transportation spending takes years, even decades, to complete, which makes it less than ideal for stimulus spending. In a phone chat a few hours ago, my father estimated that in a best case scenario, if you jammed through a law mandating the widening of I-95 from Florida to Maine today, it would clear the EIS process and be ready to break ground about 20 years from now. And the idea that adding two lanes to I-95 would lower America's energy usage is, to put it mildly, unsupported by any sort of credible evidence.

As Dad points out, if you want to use government works projects for fiscal stimulus, the only way to do it is to initiate a large number of small-scale projects like playground reconstruction in low-income communities, which fly below the EIS ceiling, and which you could therefore require be initiated in 90 days from successful bid.