A highway development plan shared by Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker is sparking debate on a popular anti-car subreddit.
The user shares a photo of the Governor’s tweet, captioning it, simply, “greenwashing.” The tweet shows an image of the proposed highway expansion plan, which appears like a complex collection of multi-lane highways and overpasses.
Governor Pritzker’s post claims that the plan would result in a reduction of five million traffic hours and 1.6 million gallons of gasoline annually. He also says the new plan will reduce planet-overheating gases by more than 33%, as well as create thousands of jobs. And, he says, the new highway will feature “new bike lanes, wider sidewalks, and improved access to transit.”
A report from the Public Interest Research Group found that President Biden’s $1.2 trillion funding for infrastructure development was earmarked for public transportation improvements including bus, rail, and more bike lanes — however, instead, many states are allegedly sending the funds to highway expansion.
Redditors were suspicious of Pritzker’s claims, with many noting that even just creating the concrete for a construction project of this magnitude likely negated a significant amount of the projected pollution reductions touted by the plan.
“Stop this madness,” writes one Redditor.
“I can’t even imagine what a nightmare it will be to maintain,” comments another.
“Wow yeah, that looks like a place I want to take my bike! I bet it’s safe and the views are incredible,” says a third.
Another Redditor came to the Governor’s defense. “To be fair, the amount of bike lanes have exploded here since Pritzer was elected,” they write. “ Not just painted lanes, either; all bike lanes are being secured with cement barriers by the end of 2023, and most of my neighborhood has already finished protecting the lanes.”
Transportation is the leading cause of pollution. According to the EPA, it accounts for 27% of gas pollution in the U.S. And while civil engineers aren’t required by law to develop road systems that reduce pollution, at least one paper called on the world’s engineers to develop a Declaration of Climate Action that includes a code of ethics.
To its credit, the Governor’s $34.6 billion Rebuild Illinois Campaign does include the goal of putting one million electric cars on the road by 2030 — that’s about 25% of the total vehicles in the state — as well as building a network of public charging stations across the state to support these cars.
“The Office of Planning and Programming has been working to implement the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure program, a provision of the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act providing nearly $150 million to build a network of public charging stations across the state,” reads the Illinois Department of Transportation’s website.
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