At this point, communal [local government] funds must be for [road] maintenance only with any system expansion being paid by some form of user charge. #nonewroadsTwo elaborations. First, there is no such thing as "successfully growing a centralized economy." Complex adaptive systems do what they d**n well please. Second, business-as-usual with "bipartisan compromise" always works this way. Want a slice of bread, bicycle riders? Make sure the truckers get six loaves.
And if this means that states and the federal government, unable to resolve the complexities of successfully growing a centralized economy without the opiate of transportation spending, devolve funding to the local level for all but the critical systems of interstate travel, then that works too.
And as a final word, for those of you hoping to fund transit, pedestrian and cycling improvements out of increased state and federal dollars, I offer two observations. First, you are advocating for high-return investments in a financing system that does not currently value return-on-investment. You are going to finish way behind on every race, at least until we no longer have the funds to even run a race. Stop selling out for a drop in the bucket and start demanding high ROI spending.
Second, the cost of getting anything you want is going to be expansive funding to prop up the systems that hurt the viability of transit, biking and walking improvements. Every dollar you get is going to be bought with dozens of dollars for suburban commuters, their parking lots and drive throughs and their mindset continuing to oppose your efforts at every turn. You win more by defunding them than by eating their table scraps.
YOU WIN MORE BY DEFUNDING THEM THAN BY EATING THEIR TABLE SCRAPS.
Here's Charles Marohn of Strong Towns, suggesting that the best thing Government can do for "crumbling infrastructure" is to go away. Or perhaps, which might be even more difficult, stop creating expensive and lightly used ribbon-cutting opportunities for pork-barrelling politicians.