Monday, April 05, 2021

Unbelievable: Biden Wants to Spend $20 Billion to Destroy 'Racist' Highways with His Infrastructure Bill

President Joe Biden’s $2.25 trillion infrastructure plan is a wretched mess of bloat, giveaways and Green New Deal-style posturing. It intends to tax-and-spend our way out of the pandemic funk by raising taxes on businesses already battered by lockdowns and spending that money on liberal agenda items that make Democrats feel warm and fuzzy but do little to make America’s infrastructure better.

If you want an object lesson in just how broken this plan is, look no further than the New Orleans neighborhood of Tremé, where Biden would spend federal money to destroy a highway that’s already been built in the name of “advanc[ing] racial equity and environmental justice.”

Or look to Syracuse, New York, where the same thing would happen to a section of Interstate 81.

Or Houston, where an Interstate 45 expansion was paused recently at the behest of Biden’s Department of Transportation because some in the community deemed the expansion to be “racist.”

These are the priorities of an infrastructure plan that Biden said, in his opening pitch Wednesday, would “grow the economy, make us more competitive around the world, promote our national security interest and put us in a position to win the global competition with China in the upcoming years.”

In New Orleans, it would do this by tearing down the Claiborne Expressway. Quoth The Washington Post’s Ian Duncan, the highway, built in 1968, is “an example of a historic inequity that President Biden’s new infrastructure plan would seek to address through billions in new spending.”

Tremé resident Amy Sally has waged a campaign for years to have the expressway, which cuts through a predominately black neighborhood, removed.

Duncan said Sally “struggled to get support from local leaders. Neighbors considered the quest to be wishful thinking.”

“Nobody thinks you can get rid of a highway,” she told The Post.

They do when the president thinks a fund that apportions billions to destroy existing infrastructure in the name of equity is an example of “building back better.”

“I’m floored,” she said Wednesday. “I’m thrilled to hear President Biden would call out the Claiborne Expressway as a racist highway.”

In fact, according to E&E News, the $621 billion that the Biden administration wants to spend on infrastructure is meant to address “historic inequities and build the future of transportation infrastructure.”

“The President’s plan includes $20 billion for a new program that will reconnect neighborhoods cut off by historic investments and ensure new projects increase opportunity, advance racial equity and environmental justice, and promote affordable access,” a fact sheet from the White House read.

It name-checked two highways in particular: “Too often, past transportation investments divided communities — like the Claiborne Expressway in New Orleans or I-81 in Syracuse — or it left out the people most in need of affordable transportation options.”

In the case of I-81, color Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York thrilled.

“It is wonderful for Syracuse that President Biden listened to us and included the vital I-81 reformation as a poster child for enlightened infrastructure policy, calling for new investment to help communities pay for tearing down urban highways to reconnect and transform neighborhoods previously left behind,” Schumer said in a statement, according to

“The $2 billion plan would reroute highway traffic onto nearby Interstate 481 and rebuild part of Interstate 690 that crosses downtown,” the outlet reported.

The argument is that these highways, though intended to reduce travel times, were built through black neighborhoods.

The paradox, however, is that I-81 and the Claiborne Expressway, part of Interstate 10, were built as part of the massive Interstate Highway System project — mentioned not infrequently by Biden on Wednesday as a polestar for his new infrastructure plan.

For example, he said the initiative is “not a plan that tinkers around the edges, it’s a once-in-a-generation investment in America, unlike anything we’ve seen or done since we built the Interstate Highway System and the space race decades ago.

“In fact, it’s largest American jobs investment since World War II. It’ll create millions of jobs, good-paying jobs. It’ll grow the economy, make us more competitive around the world, promote our national security interest and put us in a position to win the global competition with China in the upcoming years.”

And it’ll do this by destroying highways to build highways. It’s Keynesian ditch-digging, all in the name of racial equity.

Not that we shouldn’t have seen this coming. In December, Pete Buttigieg, then the nominee to head the Department of Transportation, said this on social media:

“Black and brown neighborhoods have been disproportionately divided by highway projects or left isolated by the lack of adequate transit and transportation resources.

“In the Biden-Harris administration, we will make righting these wrongs an imperative.”

In early March, we saw the nascent practical effects of this when the Department of Transportation effectively put a hold on an expansion of Interstate 45 in Houston, first by sending a letter to the Texas Department of Transportation asking it to stop the project and then by sending the Federal Highway Administration to sue Texas, as Bloomberg reported.

“Basically we’ve for decades been prioritizing highways over the ability to get around. We need to be smarter about this,” Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said during a news conference, according to Bloomberg. (County judges are basically county executives in Texas.)

“The way we build should not focus on what’s easiest for cars,” Hidalgo said. “It should focus on what improves quality of life. That is not only the right thing to do but necessary to make sure our region remains competitive as the world continues to evolve and we work to retain and recruit the smartest people into our region.”

However, many of the concerns were focused around racial equity.

In a letter to the Texas DOT, Air Alliance Houston said the I-45 extension would “have a severe and disparate impact on generational Black and Hispanic/Latinx neighborhoods and Black and Hispanic/Latinx individuals.”

“Others wrote similar letters, including U.S. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and the community organization Texas Housers,” Bloomberg reported.

“Those letters are what prompted the federal action from the highway administration, which says it will evaluate concerns raised under Title VI, the provision of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that forbids discrimination on ‘the ground of race, color, or national origin’ in federally funded programs or activities.”

At least the I-45 extension hasn’t been built and addressing it doesn’t necessarily appear to be a part of the Biden administration’s $20 billion bulldozer equity grab-bag — at least not yet.

However, it’s a glimpse into the mindset that will undergird one of the most misguided parts of a thoroughly injudicious infrastructure plan that deals with actual infrastructure problems (when it deals with them at all) through the lens of social engineering.

There’s another irony there, though: These highways exist because of the Robert Moses-style social engineering that went into designing projects such as the Interstate Highway System.

Back then, automobile transport was seen as the wave of the future. The engineers and bureaucrats who mapped out the system didn’t have the racial sensitivities of 2021, but they were also utopian do-gooders who believed that by breaking a few eggs, you’d get a whole lot more in return. If you had to run a highway through a neighborhood, sorry — but fast and accessible car travel makes things better for everyone else.

Such are the pitfalls of central planning and a government determined to “go big” at all costs.

The infrastructure is there, however, and it serves its purpose. Now, the new enlightened Robert Moseses of the Biden administration want to spend $20 billion to tear it down because our 21st-century utopian do-gooders have come to the conclusion that, at a time we’re bleeding money like a drunken poker player, what our nation’s infrastructure needs is less infrastructure.

Then, presumably, we’ll need more infrastructure where the old infrastructure used to be, except more equitable.

Keep in mind, this is only $20 billion of $2.25 trillion in spending that’s being proposed. The same misguided spirit permeates the entire plan — which aims to build, repair and replace infrastructure through the lens of ideology under the assumption that’ll make America competitive.

Of course, even though the plan is oft-compared to the Interstate Highway System, it’ll lead to no externalities like these “racist” highways in the Interstate Highway System that are such a blight on equity they need to be torn down.

Rest assured, our benevolent central planners know better these days. You can trust them to socially engineer with the $2.25 trillion they want — more than $6,800 for every American — with the same wisdom they plan on spending that $20 billion in places like New Orleans and Syracuse.


How To Destroy a Nation

One year has passed since restaurants, bars, places of worship, and our children’s schools were shut down by power-hungry politicians. Government officials around the nation, blatantly ignoring the Constitution and preying on the fears of Americans, imposed draconian lockdowns that changed our way of life.

It was also one year ago that millions of us began to realize how easily our most basic liberties could be taken away by our elected leaders.

Before March of last year, most of us believed we had rights enshrined in the Constitution and a free market economy.

We thought that government agencies would publish information intended to help us, rather than take away our freedoms.

We trusted schools and teachers to have our children’s best interest at heart. There was no doubt that America was the greatest nation in the world.

Unfortunately, the America we believed in was a fantasy.

The freedoms we enjoyed were an illusion, and our trust in government was misplaced. Millions of Americans quickly learned that their government could force them to stay in their homes indefinitely, mandate masks on the beach, and cancel church services.

Government officials even prevented their constituents from hosting Super Bowl parties in their own homes.

And that’s not all. Governments can hack into and track phones without a warrant, so the right to privacy is a mirage. Freedom of speech only applies if we don’t question government edicts or the prevailing media narrative--if we do, we are suppressed. Just ask Dr. Pierre Kory of the FLCCC Alliance, who advocated for the use of non-vaccine therapeutics that greatly improved outcomes for patients who contracted COVID-19. Copies of his Senate testimony last year were quickly removed from YouTube and C-SPAN.

It doesn’t end there. We thought we had a right to keep our businesses open and allow customers to assess their risk, but this was also an illusion.

Throughout the pandemic, bureaucrats have claimed total authority in deciding which businesses stay open and even in which items customers are allowed to purchase.

Some of the Americans that refused to comply with ridiculous, unscientific mandates were jailed in the name of "public safety."

Throughout our nation’s history, Americans dutifully paid taxes, voted, and drove on the right side of the street because we believed we had a contract with our government and with each other.

Over the past year, we’ve seen that this "contract" is nothing more than a collectively-held myth.

We thought that the government existed to protect our liberties, deriving its authority from the consent of the governed. But now, if our elected leaders suspend our freedom indefinitely, we’re expected to comply, no questions asked.

Many of our leaders insisted, and continue to insist, that the COVID-19 pandemic warranted an unprecedented expansion of government authority. Without this, they claimed that millions of Americans would die.

Of course, they were wrong. States that implemented the restrictions our nation’s "experts" recommended have had similar or worse COVID-19 numbers relative to states that remained open.

But it turns out that scaring millions of Americans was enough to make this power grab a reality. The words written in the Constitution, intended to constrain government and preserve individual liberty, proved to be largely meaningless. Political leaders forced us to swallow the destruction of our way of life in the name of "safety."

But as Benjamin Franklin said: "Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

A year after the first lockdowns were imposed, Americans should ask some difficult questions, the answers to which are becoming increasingly clear: Were the lockdowns justified? Did we really need to close our schools?

Were social distancing and mask mandates effective?

A sober examination of America’s response to this pandemic is needed, not just because it was used as the justification to ruin countless lives, but because it’s the only way we’ll learn the right lessons from this unprecedented event.

There is no doubt that COVID-19 has devastated America, but it’s the government’s response to this pandemic, not the virus itself, that has taught us how to destroy a nation.




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