12 May 2009

Missing the Train

A follow up to yesterday's post, I came across this article in the Times about a car-free community in Germany. The main subject is fine, but more interesting to me are the subsidiary considerations of (sub)urban planning, mass transit, etc., in the States. For example,

    In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency is promoting “car reduced” communities, and legislators are starting to act, if cautiously. Many experts expect public transport serving suburbs to play a much larger role in a new six-year federal transportation bill to be approved this year, Mr. Goldberg said. In previous bills, 80 percent of appropriations have by law gone to highways and only 20 percent to other transport.
This comparative lack of support for mass transit in the States should be the first thing addressed in pursuit of more more sustainable carbon policies. Light rail initiatives here in Utah County have consistently failed for want of funding, while enormous state and federal investment has been made in highways. And the roads are still massively congested. With budgets in collapse, I have no optimism about any change in the short-term, but when the economy picks back up and fuel prices skyrocket, as of course they will, perhaps light rail will get another chance.

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