The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of our Shiny New Highway Bill

| Fri Jun. 29, 2012 12:58 PM EDT

Brad Plumer runs down the new highway bill for us today, providing both the good news and the bad. The good news is, basically, that we even have a highway bill. The bad news is that the bill's funding is dumb and mass transit got screwed. Plus this:

5) Two obscure — but important! — reforms got left out of the final bill. The original Senate transportation bill did two things that may seem minor but were actually quite significant, says Joshua Schank of the Eno Center for Transportation. For one, the bill shifted more money to fixing existing roads rather than building new ones. (Analysts have long argued that it’s more cost-effective to repair the roads we already have, but state and local politicians prefer new projects that come with shiny ribbon-cuttings.) That earlier version also would’ve established a new coordinated policy that linked up freight and ports. But these provisions have been cut from the final bill.

Hooray for Washington! Lots of money for stuff we don't really need, not so much for stuff we do. But at least it's bipartisan. That's what matters, right?