You're reading into things which aren't there.
The national road network of any country needs to be - essentially - totally rebuilt every 50 years or so. It's basically a continuous process, and when you stop doing it for cost savings it gets more expensive later and you begin to pay for the costs due to slow traffic. Late deliveries or more expense in trucking has an economic effect, not to mention negative consequences for those behind poor quality roads. The same is true of bridges: you are basically rebuilding them every N years in terms of maintenance, and the US has reached the point now where a huge number of them really are going to need to be torn down because it'll be cheaper to rebuild them then certify the existing ones as structurally sound.
High speed rail has been on the books since the 80s - look it up. There's a bunch of major links and extensions which have been evaluated, re-evaluated and are still evaluated because it turns out every time you propose better transportation the same ideas which were good before that you didn't do are still actually really good.
My problem is you are operating on -- seemingly -- no information, but are feeling incredibly shore that these are "pet projects" and would be wasteful spending. It's akin to the senator who decided to get in a huff about volcano monitoring as a waste of money, 2 weeks before a volcano in Alaska exploded.