A Conservative Perspective: The Case Against Transportation Devolution

This paper assesses those arguments from a conservative perspective and makes the case for continuing the current cooperative federal-state regime. Although devolution may seem superficially appealing, it would conflict with the nation’s long and unbroken history of federal transportation investment, balkanize the nation’s transportation networks, cause a substantial drag on the economy, and bring about a host of other serious problems. Because this paper assesses the value of federal transportation investments through a conservative lens, it is essential to begin with an understanding of what that means. By “conservative” we mean a commitment to the idea that the Constitution’s original structure and its enduring framework of limited government is the best mechanism for providing economic opportunity, maintaining a strong national defense, establishing religious liberty, and fostering a flourishing society of republican self-government. 

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