Yesterday, the Department of Transportation (DOT) hosted the last in a series of 11 forums meant to "facilitate conversation" and "inform [their] final Beyond Traffic report on key transportation trends and potential policy considerations." The video that accompanied the announcement (astonishingly) nails the critical factor for the future of our infrastructure in the first 10 seconds:
NARRATOR: "Did you know that over the next 30 years, our population is expected to grow by nearly 70 million? That's more than the current population of New York, Texas, and Florida combined..."
Indeed, those who read the Pew Research Center's latest report won't be surprised. It's positive that DOT understands the magnitude of the numbers. Pew crucially notes that 88% of U.S. population growth in the next 50 years will be the result of our federal immigration policies. What other states' populations would we be doubling if politicians like President Obama, Senator Rubio, and Representative Ryan achieve their goal of expanding the already-unprecedented immigration levels?
According to DOT, most of the growth will be in America's 11 "megaregions" - where 75% of Americans live and work.
Why should anyone be confident that congestion won't continue to worsen regardless of the best efforts of our civil servants? Even the most optimistic-minded folks who bet that presently-unforeseen technology breakthroughs will overcome this situation are making a tremendous and risky wager with our waning quality of life.
Considering widespread reviews that our government has failed to maintain our existing infrastructure the last 30 years, why would we want to even more aggressively double down on the challenge for the next 30 years and beyond?
DOT's Beyond Traffic "blue paper" even includes this helpful graphic that acknowledges the total U.S. population (current and projected):
This future can yet be transformed. Reducing immigration may not be a "potential policy consideration" on DOT bureaucrats' radar, but an enterprising and original media should see the value in DOT's intent here. Reporters - including those on the transportation beat: please facilitate for your readers this conversation. [h/t Post and Courier]
ANDREW GOOD works on the Media Standards Project for NumbersUSA and is the former executive director for the Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus
Updated: Wed, Nov 11th 2015 @ 10:55am EST