Naked City

Road Raving

Winner of this month's Rhetorical Excess Award is an op-ed issued by Jeff Judson of the Texas Public Policy Foundation in support of Gov. Rick Perry's new transportation plan. Judson calls Perry's "Trans Texas" proposal to criss-cross the state with massive toll road and railroad corridors "visionary," but hardly stops there. It "might be the most important advance in transportation policy thinking since Franklin Roosevelt and Dwight D. Eisenhower independently envisioned the interstate highway system," he gushes. (Eisenhower apparently gets a nod to prevent the TPPF's hard-right funders from suspecting Judson of going soft on that pinko Roosevelt.)

Judson dismisses any concerns that large parts of Texas might be getting just a tad too covered in asphalt, insisting that only "2% of Texas was covered by urban development in 1997," with current projections of 4% by 2080. So what you thought looked like smoggy urban sprawl from the Gulf to Denton is just an optical illusion: In the new millennium, we've got all of West Texas to bulldoze!

But our favorite passage in this paean to the poured-concrete notion of progress is this one: Would the critics of sprawl force our children "to live in stifling dense cities, crowded and polluted like Moscow, Beijing or Western European cities?" That's quite a choice: Paris, Amsterdam, Rome, Barcelona, London ...? Perish the thought. We'll take Grand Prairie or Katy, anytime.

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