Commentary: Stimulus plans must look to future

This editorial appeared in The Sacramento Bee.

Alarmed by the likely depths of this recession, President-elect Barack Obama is urging Congress to quickly pass an economic stimulus package – one that is likely to include tens of billions of dollars for energy and transportation projects.

Spent wisely, this money could go a long way toward generating jobs, repairing crumbling roads and bridges and creating a clean energy economy for the 21st century.

Yet in the haste to cobble together a package, there's real danger that Congress will waste money on outdated, pork-barrel transportation projects. Highway contractors are pressing lawmakers to finance new freeways and highway lanes that have been on the books for years.

Some of these projects – including ones in California – will only add to the nation's dependence on oil while generating greenhouse gas emissions that the president-elect has promised to slash.

In balancing the need to quickly provide employment while meeting environmental goals, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid must be resolute, and set priorities.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Sacramento Bee.

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