Trains For America

More choices for better transportation

Obama: Bla bla, energy, cars, bla bla (not rail)

So we keep hearing bad news about the stimulus and its lack of rail provisions. And worse, the Overhead Wire has a good piece about why the Obama administration and the Democratic leadership seem to be squelching attempts to make any progress in the matter. Apparently it has to do with current Obama adviser, former energy secretary, and infrastructure-hater Larry Summers.

Amidst all this, Obama released a new statement on energy today. It actually might come across as nuanced and well-thought out, except for the glaring lack of anything rail or even transit related.

Year after year, decade after decade, we’ve chosen delay over decisive action.  Rigid ideology has overruled sound science.  Special interests have overshadowed common sense.  Rhetoric has not led to the hard work needed to achieve results.  Our leaders raise their voices each time there’s a spike in gas prices, only to grow quiet when the price falls at the pump.

I haven’t seen any definitive proof here that special interests still aren’t overshadowing common sense, but okay. Oh, there’s more.

Finally, we will make it clear to the world that America is ready to lead.  To protect our climate and our collective security, we must call together a truly global coalition.  I’ve made it clear that we will act, but so too must the world.  That’s how we will deny leverage to dictators and dollars to terrorists.  And that’s how we will ensure that nations like China and India are doing their part, just as we are now willing to do ours.

Not sure we need to be patronizing China about climate change when we’re going to be building loads of new highways while they invest billions in high-speed rail (via the NY Times).

I certainly haven’t lost hope in the idea that Obama will be bringing “change” to transportation in this country, but we haven’t seen much delivered yet. Even if the stimulus is all highways and tax cuts, we can still look forward (and keep on working) towards change in the “highway bill” coming up this year.


Filed under: International High Speed Rail, Passenger Rail Politics, , , ,

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January 2009