Busy day again today, so I'll pose this as an open question rather then a soliloquy: are more roads better or worse for the environment and climate?
Those who oppose the bigger Columbia Crossing project and the Oregon transportation bill saying that more roads will lower the cost of driving and thus encourage more of it are certainly correct in general (though I am sure there is a diversity of opinion about how much this matters) . But it is also true that congestion is terrible for the environment: all those cars idling in stop and go traffic are belching emissions at a hugely greater rate per mile than free flowing traffic.
So where is the balance? How much do we want to encourage congestion as a way to reduce driving?
My view has always been that the problem is carbon emissions so we need to address carbon emissions through a gas tax. Full stop. So let's reduce gas consumption, but work to alleviate congestion (congestion pricing is a good idea for this as well). What are your thoughts?
Oh and the fact that the transport bill includes a gas tax is good, but don't confuse this bill with stimulus as I think backers are trying to do (though they don't say it directly). Stimulus comes from borrowing from the future to stimulate the economy today. Tax and transfer schemes are different. It is possible that this is a good investment in the growth of the Oregon economy, but the emphasis on jobs created is misguided and confuses these types of investments with stimulus.