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Guest on The Infra Blog: Matt Dellinger, Author, INTERSTATE 69: THE UNFINISHED HISTORY OF THE LAST GREAT AMERICAN HIGHWAY

Posted by Steve Anderson on Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

Matt Dellinger is a writer-journalist, photographer, and multimedia producer. He produced and hosted The New Yorker Out Loud, the magazine’s first weekly podcast. Before that he worked on The New Yorker staff for ten years as an illustrations editor, multimedia producer, and manager of editorial projects such as The Complete New Yorker digital archive and the launch (and relaunch) of Newyorker.com. Dellinger also coached The New Yorker‘s softball team for eight seasons. His writing has appeared in The New Yorker, the Atlantic, the Oxford American, Smithsonian, the Wall Street Journal magazine, and The New York Times. He has discussed transportation and planning issues as a frequent guest commentator on WNYC’s morning show The Takeaway. Dellinger was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, and graduated from DePauw University. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Matt Dellinger:

The proposed route of I-69

How I-69 began

Our funding mechanism is broken

We’re living off our grandparents’ investments

Download transcript (PDF): Matt Dellinger on The Infra Blog

dellinger-matt

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One Response to “Guest on The Infra Blog: Matt Dellinger, Author, INTERSTATE 69: THE UNFINISHED HISTORY OF THE LAST GREAT AMERICAN HIGHWAY”

  1. Bill Stremmel says:

    Massive extension of I-69 is highway overkill. The Interstate system is not primarily oriented east-west. A dog-leg southwesterly via I-70 from Indianapolis to I-57 in Illinois, thence south via I-57 and I-55 reaches Memphis without too many extra miles and none of the extraordinary environmental cost of building a new terrain highway. From Memphis Interstates 40-30-35 connect Little Rock, Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin, and San Antonio in a nearly geographically direct route to the Mexican border at Laredo. The State of Texas has already designated the I-35 corridor for upgrading to meet future freight volumes. A motoring trip from Austin to Dallas five years ago during the boom economy was done at 70+ mph and most other traffic was passing me.

    Some Hoosiers desperate for a short-term economic fix would grasp at any construction project; Many others do not want the permanent disruption to the sensitive ecology of the southwestern quadrant of their state entailed by this unworthy highway. Ditto for Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas.

    Marginal benefit versus marginal cost is a benchmark that needs to be applied to all infrastructure projects. Goods moving between Canada and Mexico should be on rail because that is much more energy efficient, cost-effective than trucks for movements exceeding several hundred miles. Steel-wheel-on-steel-rail is self-steering and inherently more efficient and less ecologically harmful than rubber tire on paved roadway. Chicago is getting unsnarled by the CREATE program and the Soo Line’s realignment of train movements around that city’s congested core. Addressing other bottlenecks on key rail routes would cost far less $ and entail none of environmental cost of a new highway.

    Immediate relief for truckers would be afforded by cajoling Illinois to raise the speed limit for trucks from 55 to 65 mph, and the limit for cars from 65 to 70 mph on its rural interstates. This matches the limits for all neighboring states, and is reasonable from a safety standpoint.

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