- (Photo: flickr/indydinawithmrwonderful)
When D.C. videographer Jay Mallin imagines the transportation bill making its way through Congress, he sees the losses. Mallin takes the national transportation issues at stake and applies a local lens to how the funding will change, from bridges to walking to bicycling to the Safe Routes to School program, in his new four-minute video "Get A Car." The car dominates the landscape, he says, and the message of the bill as it exists is the House of Representatives is to saddle up the automobile. Our infrastructure supports car-owners, Mallin alleges, and he grimly brings up hit-and-runs that happen as a result of dangerous auto-centric transportation.
"It’s the worst transportation bill I’ve ever seen during 35 years of public service," U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood told Politico earlier this month.
The progress and nature of the two bills making their way through the House and Senate remain unclear. Earlier this month, President Barack Obama proposed a 2013 budget that addresses some of the issues Mallin mentions, and despite including a $15 million cut to our local Metro, promises greater funding for transit overall. We have yet to see which vision will make its way into law though. All of this is unfolding as rising gas prices create their own political pressure, in both the 2012 GOP presidential campaigns, Congress, and the halls of the West Wing.
And what exactly is transit? Talk to a Republican leader like Rep. Eric Cantor and there's a specific narrow definition that excludes much integrating of walking and biking. Last week, Arlington County Commuter Services Bureau Chief Chris Hamilton emphasized to me that he and his team see services such as Capital Bikeshare as extension of transit, as part of the definition.