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Highway expansion projects too often come with big price tags and paltry benefits. Yet at least nine new expansions are planned across the country, including one in California.
On June 18, CALPIRG released our national network's fifth edition "Highway Boondoggles" report, which profiles these projects. In California, the proposed High Desert Freeway is expected to cost $8 billion. In stark contrast to California's global warming goals, this project would lead to more driving, more pollution and sprawling desert development. Collectively, the nine projects examined are slated to cost at least $25 billion.
In addition to the cost, the report demonstrates that boondoggle projects like these often fail to reduce congestion but do increase asthma-inducing air pollution and divert funding from road repair and public transit priorities.
“To solve our transportation problems—from potholes to pollution to global warming—we need to put outdated highway projects in our rearview mirror," said Matt Casale, director of our national network's Highway Boondoggles campaign and co-author of the report.
Photo: U.S. PIRG Education Fund's latest "Highway Boondoggles" report covers nine new budget-eating highway projects including the proposed High Desert Freeway (pictured above), which is slated to cost a total of $8 billion. Credit: San Bernardino County Public Works via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 4.0
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