Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Here comes the money … but where is it going? …

     Some of the first things to go in a time of economic recession are grand ideas of public policy.  But David Brooks –- sometimes dismissed as merely “the conservative” columnist for the New York Times –- laments this week that president-elect Obama’s leading economic plan for 2009 –- pouring money into Atlantahighway infrastructure proejcts as soon as possible –- will fail to foster metropolitan density and good planning that the 21st century –- and especially a more sober 21st century society -- needs.  I think he’s correct in his skepticism that Obama will do little to link the money to urban planning; – after all, Obama, like Bill Clinton before him, appears to be a traditional Democrat for whom issues of job numbers and social justice are far more important than green or land use ideas.  And of course even if Obama were Al Gore or James Howard Kunstler, it’s often difficult for the federal government to use money to effects plans at the local level.  So we’ll likely see billions funneled into new roads and bridges, with relatively little of it heading to public transpiration of transit-oriented development.  After all, there’s a recession on, haven’t you heard?

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"We can invest in rail, so that cities like Detroit, Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Louis are connected by high-speed trains, and folks have alternatives to air travel. That's what we can do if we commit to rebuild a stronger America." (Candidate Obama, June 16, 2008, http://my.barackobama.com/page/community/post/stateupdates/gG5nQB)

This would be a big step in the right direction.

Posted by: Celeste | Dec 11, 2008 10:16:32 AM

"We can invest in rail, so that cities like Detroit, Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Louis are connected by high-speed trains, and folks have alternatives to air travel. That's what we can do if we commit to rebuild a stronger America." These were Candidate Obama's words in Flint, Michigan on June 18. http://my.barackobama.com/page/community/post/stateupdates/gG5nQB

This use of the infrastructure funds would be a good step in the green direction.

Posted by: Celeste | Dec 18, 2008 1:41:26 PM

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