The Senate passed a surprisingly good transportation bill


As usual, reauthorization of the law governing federal transportation spending is long overdue, caught in D.C.’s gridlock. But on Thursday the Senate did its part to break the impasse: It finally passed a six-year transportation bill, which includes some surprisingly good provisions for the environment.

Although it remains to be seen what the more conservative House of Representatives will do with the bill when they take it up this fall, results from the Senate suggest that the trend toward suburbanization has gone as far as it can and is now starting to bend back. Rampant sprawl once meant that Republicans were adamantly opposed to transit and to bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly streets. Now, sprawl is so widespread that even many people who can’t or don’t drive live in suburbs and sprawling Sun Belt cities, and their legislators have an incentive to reallocate transportation dollars in ways that serve them as well…

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