Not sure any level of our governmental structure has quite realized this yet. In the Canadian province of Ontario, a report commissioned by the government’s economic advisers has suggested that a high-speed rail network is key to tackling both the environmental crisis and the economic slowdown. From the Toronto Star:
Written by a team of civil engineers at the University of Toronto, the report estimates the total cost of infrastructure work at up to $27.5 billion. But they say their recommendations address the two most pressing issues today – global warming and global recession.
The report proposes 560 kilometres of high-speed electric track that runs from Toronto north to Orillia, east to Peterborough and west to a corridor that includes Waterloo, Hamilton and Niagara Falls. It would take at least a decade to build and cost anywhere from $4 billion to $20 billion, depending on the route and technology chosen.
The rail system would help create a high-density “mega-region” by improving transportation and attracting what the report calls well-paid “creative” jobs, such as those in aerospace, finance and telecommunications.
Of course, this plan means very little at the moment. It has yet to be endorsed by the Premier of Ontario, but it’s the kind of forward-thinking proposal that seems lacking in American transportation thought. It creates immediate jobs, it attracts high-tech companies, it prepares the country for a more sustainable future. This is a stark contrast to what Obama has shown us so far. As Streetsblog points out, he apparently thinks you can have a “green dream team” without including the Secretary of Transportation. Whoops.