Saturday, January 24, 2009
OPEN LETTER ON THE STIMULUS PACKAGE
To the newly-elected administration and other leaders of this country-
You're preparing to pass a new stimulus package containing some $800 billion in new investment to help turn around the economy of this country.
But, just as important, is that the Obama administration appears to be dropping the ball on making the right stimulus package moves. Their proposed investment in transportation, for instance (and as pointed out by Nobel laureate Paul Krugman), pales in comparison to the investment in tax cuts -- and studies show that tax cuts will do nothing to stimulate the economy, while investments in transportation will be nearly the most effective use of stimulus money.
Furthermore, we MUST insure that the transportation investments are targeted towards TRANSIT, BICYCLING, PEDESTRIANS, SMART GROWTH and MAINTENANCE and UPKEEP of existing roads.
The stimulus money should absolutely NOT be spent on building a whole new set of freeways that will allow for another century's worth of sprawl-inducement.
We don't need more roads and highways, we've spent the past 70 years building out that mode.
We need high speed rail.
We need bikeways.
We need sidewalks, paths and trails.
We need light rail, streetcars and more urban rapid transit.
We need high-speed freight.
We need to electrify our railroads so that they don't run on fossil fuels.
In short, we need a new transportation paradigm.
That's what we elected Obama to deliver -- and he appears to be backing down from his campaign promises to do so!!
Please help, we need you to help fix America.
Fixing our communities will also help fix health care... as people walk and bike more and drive less, they will become less obese. This will reduce the financial burden on the health care system. We cannot fix health care without also fixing our nation's infrastructure problem, and vice-versa. Everything is inter-connected.
But we must not invest in a new national health care system on the one hand, while with the other hand also investing in another 50-years worth of sprawl and sprawl-inducing highway infrastructure. Our national investments must be well-thought-out and coordinated.