It's time for a New Dealfor America - building the 21st century green economy to solve our problems and set us up for a prosperous, sustainable future
We need to embark on a major government project to fix America like President Roosevelt initiated in 1933 and 1935. We need another New Deal that will create millions of jobs and stimulate our economy. But that's not enough. We also need to solve our oil dependence by reducing our car dependence, and we have to address global warming in a big way too. To accomplish all this, we need a new direction - we need all hands on deck! Can we do it? "Yes we can!"
Investing in new roads IS NOT the solution
More roads increase our oil and car dependence. Roads are the problem. We need a complete change of direction in spending on transportation. We have limited time, money, and resources, so we need to get this right by addressing all our problems together with the most comprehensive solutions - as quickly as possible. If we don't enact real, long term sustainable solutions, we will end up back in this same situation a year or two from now when oil prices skyrocket again. We are running out of time and options to permanently solve our problems.
Investing in new trains IS the solution
Train system construction has all the benefits of road construction in creating jobs, but train construction puts into place the solution to all the other problems at the same time. Trains take us away from our oil and car addiction, and move us towards a truly sustainable, green economy and country.
New high speed rail construction
Creating millions of green jobs
Our choice is clear and profound
TIME Magazine on the stimulus package: "A trillion dollars' worth of bad ideas — sprawl-inducing highways and bridges to nowhere, ethanol plants and pipelines that accelerate global warming, tax breaks for overleveraged McMansion builders and burdensome new long-term federal entitlements — would be worse than mere waste." Read the article
Bloomberg.com: "Dollars spent that get Americans out of cars will ease traffic, save money, reduce pollution, slow global warming and make us less vulnerable to volatile oil oligarchs." "Road projects do little more than rearrange the traffic jams." Read the article
Architectural Record: Micharl Sorkin lays out 10 solutions for real change. Check it out
TreeHugger: Will Stimulus be Enough to Bring High Speed Rail to America? Check it out
Radio Interview: High Speed Rail system for America Listen now
China is Building a Massive National Rail System, Quickly
China is well on its way converting their entire country to sustainable, green transportation. Abandoning their plan to create a car culture rivaling America, China quickly switched to building an extensive train system nationwide. They realized the era of cheap easy oil was over just as they had arrived to the party. China is currently building 5,000 miles of brand new high speed rail comparable to the French TGV (200+ mph), plus 36 brand new, full size metro systems - each to cover an entire city. The new Shanghai metro system will be the largest in the world when complete. This will all be open for business in just a few short years! China's massive, fast track green transportation construction project is unprecedented in the history of the world, and will completely transform China towards sustainability by drastically reducing their need for cars and oil. They have also begun large scale manufacturing of wind turbines to power the trains and green their nation's energy. If China can accomplish all this in such a short time, we can too... Yes we can!Watch video
President Obama:"You go to Shanghai, China right now… and they’ve got high-speed rail that puts our railroads to shame." "America has always had the best infrastructure." -Feb. 10, 2009
1. Failing economy and rising job losses Our economy is crumbling right before our eyes. Major corporations are going bankrupt or disappearing one after the other. Job losses are rising every day, and are predicted to get far worse. At the root of our economic problems is the cost of our oil addiction - $700 billion each year for the purchase of oil. This is unsustainable, and is expected to rise dramatically over the next couple of years. The big problem is that our entire economy - especially our transportation system - is built upon cheap and plentiful oil - which is now gone forever. 'Business as usual' is no longer possible. We need a new business for America.
Our economy in peril
2. Global warming and climate change The planet is in peril, and little has been done in America to deal with this crisis. In fact, there have been considerable efforts to delay any real action. Millions of lives are at stake, our cities, our prosperity, and our entire food supply is vulnerable to irreversible damage if we don't act quickly. We face a planetary emergency and we need to act as we would in any emergency with fast action and solutions as big as the problem. Building more roads adds to the problem.
Our cities in peril
3. Peak oil and energy security According to leading experts, world oil supplies have peaked resulting in less oil available for our consumption each year from now on. We need fast action to drastically reduce our oil and car dependence. Many experts say peak oil is more serious than global warming. Our entire economy is dependent on oil, along with 98% of our transportation and 99% of our food supply. Our nation is dangerously vulnerable to the volatile global oil situation, which will only get worse as we move deeper into the era of world peak oil. We need to transition our society away from oil and cars - quickly. We are currently at war trying to secure the last remaining oil reserves, but this war has destroyed our economy and put us deep into debt. We can no longer afford the huge costs of war, both financially and in human lives and suffering. And we certainly can't afford to burn up massive amounts of the remaining scarce oil fighting wars for oil.
Peak oil is a national security threat to our nation
4. Crumbling infrastructure We have neglected the repair and maintenance of our transportation infrastructure nationwide to the point where bridges are collapsing, roads are falling apart, and our rail systems are unable to function at a reasonable level of service, or meet the rapidly rising demand. The collapsing systems are due to age, poor maintenance, and being overloaded. The collapsed bridge was never designed to carry the loads it was carrying, and thousands more bridges are in the same condition. In 2005, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave the nation's infrastructure a 'D' rating, just above complete failure, and estimated the cost to repair it to a safe level at $1.6 trillion! This doesn't even include expanding the systems to meet the projected growth in demand. It will be far cheaper to build a new national rail system!
Minneapolis bridge collapse, 2007
5. Mobility crisis nationwide Our entire national transportation system is in disrepair and overloaded to a point near paralysis. It's a time-consuming nightmare to get anywhere in America. We waste countless hours of our time and billions of gallons of precious fuel sitting stuck in traffic on our roads and runways. We are spending more money on waste than it would cost to build a new national high speed rail system. We are paying hundreds of billions of dollars for an outdated transportation system that fails to provide reasonable, efficient mobility. Building more roads simply grows the problem, and has proven over and over to create more traffic, and digs us deeper into our oil and car addiction. We clearly need a new direction in transportation policy and funding.
Nationwide transportation paralysis - every day, every city
A new direction! One project can solve all our problems together. Building a new world class rail system across America will address all 5 problems simultaneously, and put us on a course to sustainability and prosperity. This is the fastest, most efficient way to deal with all these huge problems together. Solving 5 big problems with one solution is smart, efficient, and a real bargain compared to what it would cost in time and money trying to solve them individually.
This is not new in America - we already had an extensive rail system
In 1922, America had more than 44,800 miles of green, electric streetcar rail systems in 80 cities, plus thousands of miles of regional and national rail systems. More than 90% of Americans lived in walkable cities with great train service right outside the door, transporting them everywhere.
Creates millions of green jobs nationwide building the new rail infrastructure and manufacturing the rail cars
Pays for itself by significantly reducing our $700 billion a year oil purchase trade deficit
A major step toward solving global warming by reducing our oil consumption and emissions
Drastically reduces our oil addiction and lowers our risk from the coming peak oil crisis
Lowers our dependence on costly military operations securing oil flow around the world
Lowers our national security risk, and ends wars for oil
Freedom from oil - Powered by clean electricity from renewable energy sources: wind, solar, geothermal, ocean/tidal
Safe, affordable, green transportation for everyone
Saves lives (43,000 Americans die each year in car accidents)
Provides efficient mobility that moves people and goods without delay and waste
Puts in place a high quality infrastructure setting us up for prosperity, mobility, efficiency, and a sustainable future
It lays the foundation for building walkable, affordable green communities surrounding the train stations
Makes cities more livable, safe, healthy, and beautiful by removing cars, traffic, noise, pollution, and parking lots
Trains create walkable, affordable communities
Trains are affordable, safe, clean and green
A nationwide train construction project is needed Green jobs to build it! Green energy to power it!
THE NEW RAIL PLAN ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
A new safe, affordable, green transportation system for all Americans
Build a new world-class national rail system made up of an extensive network of connecting train lines in a 3-tiered, seamless system. The trains would run on clean electricity powered by a combination of wind, solar, geothermal, and ocean/tidal renewable green energy.
A. National high speed rail system
This top level train would serve as the national fast system now covered by airplanes and distance car travel. It would consist of all high-speed train lines connecting central cities together in a web of train lines across the nation. The trains operating at this level would be state-of-the-art TGV/Eurostar type trains that travel at 200–220 mph. This high speed rail system is a high quality, high capacity system transporting more passengers than highways and airlines put together - using a fraction of the energy, for less than a quarter of the cost.
The 800-mile California High Speed Rail project - just voted in by the people - is the first piece of this national system. Propelling California into the 21st century, the new train will link all major cities from Sacramento to San Diego with 220 mph trains.
National High Speed Rail Network - Click for phases
B. Regional rail systems
This level of trains would serve as the medium-speed regional system linking the many regional destinations together and to the high-speed train station. These regional trains would connect to all the smaller cities, towns, and significant destinations within each region.
This includes metro systems as well as commuter and regional trains. These new trains would serve as the backbone of a new regional planning effort to convert low density suburban development into a series of walkable, transit oriented developments along the new train lines.
Regional rail systems for each region
C. Local light rail, streetcar, trolley & tram systems
This level of trains would serve as the local collector system connecting to the regional trains. It would have stops in all parts of cities, neighborhoods and central gathering places, as well as employment centers, retail locations, and sports and recreation facilities within each community.
Ideally, these trains would never be more than a few blocks walk from all locations within cities and towns. Much like the original 44,800 mile streetcar system in America, this new system would enable a large percentage of Americans once again to live in walkable cities without the need for a car.
A green retooling of the US transportation industry is needed. Our transportation systems were built around cheap oil - which is now gone for good. No amount of biofuels, used french-fry oil, hydrogen fuel cells, and hybrid cars are going to be able to move 300 million Americans into the future. We need a new 21st century transportation system for a new age! "We need all hands on deck!"
All the companies now in transportation need to retool and be included in this new plan. This would save as many jobs as possible, and minimize competition and resistance to the new systems. The retooling would include train system design, manufacturing, operations, and maintenance, and could take place as follows:
Companies now known as airlines, rather than limited to managing air travel, would become “transportation providers” and invited to operate train company franchises. Airplane and auto manufacturers could start building trains, track, and parts. Airport operators could become train station operators. The FAA could change into the agency that oversees the entire operation. The Department of Transportation could plan the train network, instead of planning roads. Road builders can become train infrastructure builders.
There are also a number of other American companies outside the transportation industry that would benefit greatly by getting involved in a new train system. Real estate developers would build walkable urbanism surrounding the train stations. Resort, hotel, theme park operators, and travel companies would all see increased business. Shipping and delivery companies would all save money. Defense contractors could get involved building the energy, signaling, and control systems. In addition, there are many train operators and manufacturers in Europe and Japan that would be more than willing to participate in building and operating a high-speed train network in America.
Retooling industry is essential for fixing America. We are in the midst of a sea change in our society that requires us to fundamentally change our transportation and many of our industries to build the new green economy. This is the new business of America! Continuing 'business as usual' is no longer possible.
1. Retool Car Manufacturers
All three American car manufacturers are on the edge of bankruptcy and are pleading for a massive bailout from the government to the tune of tens of billions of dollars - far more then their total net worth. Even with the bailout, these companies are no longer viable entities, since continued car manufacturing makes little sense in light of peak oil and
Retool car manufacturing plants into producing trains
climate change. There is an enormous need for large scale manufacturing of trains in America. Retooling the car factories can be done quickly to build trains while saving millions of jobs. A complete retooling of the car factories was accomplished in a matter of months back in the 1940s to meet the wartime need for tanks and airplanes. We can do the same thing now just as quickly. Yes we can!
2. Retool Car Parts Suppliers
In addition to trains, millions of bicycles will be needed in America as we transition away from cars. Rather than import them from China, we should manufacture them here in America and create millions of green jobs. Car parts suppliers can retool into making bicycles since there will be a big reduction in the need for car parts.
Retool auto parts suppliers into making bicycles
3. Retool Airplane Manufacturers
There will be a great reduction in the need for airplanes as we enter the peak oil era. Since most trips will take place in trains, the majority of airplane manufacturing will become obsolete. Currently, there is a huge demand for wind turbines, and manufacturing is unable to keep up with this demand. Airplane manufacturing plants are ideal for retooling into producing wind turbines.
Retool airplane manufacturing plants into producing wind turbines
4. Retool Road Builders
As we transition away from cars, it makes no sense to spend any more money building roads that have no future. Roads and cars for the masses only made sense when there was plenty of cheap oil, but it's now gone forever. Currently, the huge need is for new train systems all across the nation. We need many thousands of miles of train infrastructure built as quickly as possible.
Retool road builders into constructing train infrastructure
We need train tracks, train bridges and tunnels, and many new train stations built. This will be one of the nation's largest construction projects ever. Road builders are the ideal group to retool and lead the way building the nation's new green transportation system.
5. Retool Real Estate Developers Since the era of cheap oil is over, our drive-in utopia will no longer be possible. Future development needs to be compact walkable urbanism surrounding train stations. This designs away the need for cars and oil. Walkable urbanism and trains are the future, and the building blocks for a sustainable society - creating livable, affordable, healthy, and enjoyable communities for all.
Retool developers who build sprawl into building walkable cities and towns
6. Retool Defense Contractors We need to rethink our national defense strategy since everything is changing as we enter the era of peak oil. We need to focus more of our efforts on reducing our dependence on oil. This needs to become a central mission of our national security. We need to redirect a portion of our huge defense budget (currently half our entire nation's annual budget) towards changing our transportation to reduce our need for oil.
Retool defense contractors' weapons plants into producing solar panels, etc.
Peak oil and global warming represent a far greater national security threat than terrorism or any potential enemy. Defense contractors are ideal companies to manufacture products such as solar panels, wind turbine parts, and train computer control systems.
"We should be emphasizing attractive and efficient forms of mass transportation. New and improved forms of mass transit, like the trains in Japan and France should be enthusiastically encouraged." -Al Gore
Sustainable, low energy, enjoyable living
REPORTS: More Jobs Created With Train Projects Than Road Projects
“Make no small plans. They have no magic to stir humanity’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical plan once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency.” –Daniel Burnham