As per usual, the Transport Politic has provided an innovative insight into the world of transportation. This week he has developed a Senatorial Transport Index for 2009, measuring how progressive senators are regarding transportation issues. For further explanation of how these ratings were measured you should click on the link to get the breakdown of what votes were measured.
What is interesting to me is the curious correlation or lack thereof of votes to urban density. I understand the role of party affiliation and how that affects the votes of various senators, but states with high urban density are most likely to get federal public transit funding, especially regarding high speed rail. It makes all the sense in the world that the senators from Wyoming do not support such funding, but that the senators from Texas are lukewarm is odd; especially given that the state is home to three of the eight largest cities in the country (Houston, Dallas and San Antonio) and six of the 21 largest. The truly perplexing state is Arizona, given that 81.4% of it’s population lives in the Phoenix and Tuscon metropolitan areas. However, Phoenix is built on the American dream of sprawl, roads and now foreclosure. At the same time, only politics can explain the “good” behavior of the senators from Montana, Vermont and West Virginia. Although we can all hope that senators truly have the nation’s best interest at heart and realize that what is good for the country may be good for their constituents, even if the money does not flow directly.