Obama Owns the Road

The Obama administration has used social justice laws to block transportation projects and is using an obscure memo to institute top-down control of automobile use, according to the Washington Times:

A nearly unknown executive order could have a greater impact on the future of America than all of those things combined, potentially giving the federal government power to control every project in the country. …[The memo] marries the issues of environmentalism and social justice. The federal government can use the laws from one to control the other. …

Last year, an environmental justice claim prevented the state of Virginia from installing express toll lanes to help alleviate traffic congestion on Interstate 395 in Arlington County. The county alleged that the state had violated a series of laws that Mr. Obama suggested as enforcement tools for environmental justice.

First, emissions from vehicles operating in the toll lanes would have violated the Clean Air Act. And, since the lanes would have run mostly through a low-income minority community, they also violated Title VI by discriminating against residents who live there.

The memo, based upon a 1994 Executive Order signed by Bill Clinton, was signed in August 2011 by seventeen federal agencies. It allows the federal government to intrude upon state and local government public roads projects, leaving critics to fear that it could make the Environmental Protection Agency the final arbiter on transportation.