He isn’t quite P-Butt (that would be Pete Buttigieg, for those of you not paying attention), but Mitch Landrieu, the man in charge of blowing through the trillion dollars in “infrastructure” appropriations passed by the prior Congress and given to the Biden administration to spend, certainly wants you to know that the roads are racist.
That’s the message Landrieu made sure to bleat out on Friday when White House spokeslesbian Queen Karine Jean-Pierre trotted him out to talk about infrastructure, and when he caught a question about “racist” roads and railroad tracks which cut through neighborhoods, Landrieu couldn’t motor-mouth his way through an answer fast enough…
For those of you without the three minutes it takes to listen to Landrieu opine about how roads cutting through a neighborhood destroy that neighborhood, here’s a transcript courtesy of PJ Media…
Press member: Thank you, Karine. Thank you, Mayor. Secretary Buttigieg has appeared where you’re standing now and discussed how federal funds will be used to redesign urban areas that are assessed to contain infrastructure that was racist in its original design and its original execution. Are you collaborating with him on that effort? Are any of the infrastructure funds you’re talking about being used for that purpose?
Landrieu: Well, as you know, equity is really important to the President of the United States for the very simple reason that he thinks that unless we go forward together, it’s hard to go forward at all — so, first thing to remember.
And this administration believes that diversity is a great strength, not a weakness, and that if we’re going to do all of this stuff, it’s not just a matter of trust; it’s — it’s a matter of numbers as well. That’s first.
The second part of it is this: There are, in fact, highways, waterways, roadways — if you ask anybody in the African American community or communities of color, “Where do you live?”, they will often say, “I live on the other side of…” — and it’s usually a railroad track or water or a highway that split historic neighborhoods.
One imagines Landrieu is talking about the Intracoastal Waterways which stretch practically everywhere there is saltwater nearby, or more to the point the Industrial Canal in eastern New Orleans.
All of this is so stupid it’s amazing.
When the bulk of American infrastructure was laid down, there were two considerations which dominated the choices of where things would go.
The first consideration was utility. For example, roads and railways were built to carry people and things from one town to the next, and as such it was important that the roads would both bypass a city center and lead into it. That’s why most cities have a highway loop around them, though in Louisiana this was poorly done at best in most of our cities (and not done at all for the most part in New Orleans and Baton Rouge), but also have interstate-quality roads leading right near to downtown.
This, so people could get in the car and drive from the suburbs into the city center. To work but also to shop and recreate themselves. The cities prospered greatly because of those vital infrastructure decisions; but for highway connections to downtown areas, the big office buildings built in the latter half of the 20th century would have been spread out all over the big metropolitan areas. You can see what that looks like in a major way if you travel to the Dallas-Fort Worth area, because there are corporate headquarters buildings and manufacturing plants interspersed all over the place. Downtown Dallas and downtown Fort Worth? Fairly sleepy, for such big cities, frankly.
But the second consideration wasn’t racism, it was cost.
They weren’t going to slash I-10 through Uptown New Orleans and the Garden District on its way to the central business district, obviously. And it’s not because they didn’t want to displace white people. It’s because the cost of eminent domain in displacing upper middle class folks in big houses which fetch a decent penny on the market is a huge burden on an infrastructure project in comparison to the cost of eminent domain when you’re clearing out a slum.
There are very, very few super-nice neighborhoods with majority-minority populations which were blown up because the federal or state or even local governments decided to run highways through them. That barely ever happened, if it happened at all.
But sure – there were slums near downtown areas which were carved through so that a vital interstate highway could enable easy road travel from downtown Houston to downtown New Orleans.
How many jobs do you think were created by building first-class highway infrastructure through major metropolitan areas? How much intermodal transportation through ports and railway hubs do you think was created? How much prosperity do you think affected those slum areas because they were so close to major transportation arteries?
And don’t you say none, and don’t you say the roads cutting through those slums are why they’re as run-down as they are. In every case, it’s human behavior – crime, vandalism, bankruptcy, joblessness, drug addiction, poor parenting, and so on – which has led to those neighborhoods being run down, not the fact a highway ran through them.
Which is something Mitch Landrieu has built a political career denying. This is the mayor of New Orleans who led a crusade to take down some of the most significant public-art landmarks in America because they depicted iconic 19th-century American figures who happened to be generals in the Confederate Army. Landrieu left ugly scars where those landmarks stood, and almost six years later nothing has happened to rehabilitate them.
Putting him in charge of public infrastructure was obscene. It’s almost like putting male transvestites in charge of our nuclear stockpiles or the Department of Health and Human Services. Landrieu’s resume is distinctly disqualifying for the job he was given, and he’s a poster boy for the kakistocracy that is the Biden administration.
So it’s no surprise he would run on about the “racist” roads rather than focusing on the obvious needs for improved infrastructure which t5he American people might actually agree with him on.