The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion The infrastructure bill is larded up — as usual

A Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority employee drives a bus in the Koreatown neighborhood of Los Angeles on Aug. 10.
A Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority employee drives a bus in the Koreatown neighborhood of Los Angeles on Aug. 10. (Bing Guan/Reuters)
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Regarding the Aug. 18 news article “Senate bill mandates some funding for buses that pollute”:

A close examination of the Senate-passed infrastructure compromise shows that it is riddled with giveaways and other needless changes to House-passed provisions, all in order to accommodate special interests. Instead of advancing solutions to critical problems such as climate change, transportation inequities that adversely impact neighborhoods, and mounting motor vehicle deaths and injuries, several senators were pushing corporate priorities. 

Achieving overdue reforms by allowing local governments more say in shifting dollars from building new roads to repairing existing ones was weakened to appease the road builders’ lobby. Advancing inexpensive and effective sensor technology to detect and alert car owners that a small child is trapped alone in a car and at risk of heatstroke was stricken to accommodate an inferior system promoted by a few automakers. Addressing the problem of high driver turnover in the trucking industry because of long hours and low pay was handled by allowing companies to put teen drivers behind the wheel of a big rig crisscrossing the country. These outcomes show that the bipartisan secret process resulted in opportunities for political dealmaking out of the public eye and to the detriment of public interest.

Joan Claybrook, Washington

The writer is a former administrator for the National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration.

Jim Aloisi, Boston

The writer is a former Massachusetts secretary of transportation.

Janette Fennell, Bala Cynwyd, Pa.

The writer is president of
Kids and Car Safety.

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