The current public investment scheme is labeled the American Jobs Plan (here). A primary purpose of jobs through the proposed infrastructure framework is a contract to build or rebuild something. But, unfortunately, what Congress has written is a catalog of pointlessness entitled “The Same Old Story.”
Every urban planner and economist must recognize this public investment proposal as a misallocation disaster. An effective plan for jobs that includes resilience must include unbuilding. Without a deconstruction approach, the commission to ‘build back better” is a vulnerable policy offering little more than sustainable corruption. The single reason for this is not merely old story politics. It is the ridiculous relic of state boundaries represented.
The Infrastructure Framework establishes a bias towards known projects like roads and bridges because they are profitable for the builders. The environmental benefits are, at best, arguable. At worst, an acceptance that nothing changes but the slices of bacon. Positive results require decades to measure, not terms of office. The addition of jobs will be meaningless if the same world is rebuilt for future generations. The serious problem is not choosing new things to do but stopping what we have done. Here is an example.
Sources of U.S. Electricity Generation – 2020
Electric vehicles will run on coal and gas. Not including nuclear power, fifty-nine percent of the electricity generated for electric vehicles is from fossil fuel. Add a source of dangerous radiation, and the percentage rises to 79%. However, two positive factors are possible. The first is a centralized source of production capable of a conversion to clean sources. The second is revealed in the basic lessons learned by making room for human-powered vehicles.
The Alternatives are Coming
A straightforward, low-cost green infrastructure policy would be to re-imagine and re-invest in existing rights of way through deconstruction alongside effective investments in social change. For example, the goal demanded by the Climate Requirement (here) is to create fast, efficient mobility services to high-value locations. Its achievement is fueled by investing in infrastructure that leads to social change. The foundation that will help demand this kind of investment is to confirm an inherent human right to the freedom of movement. The objective to prove progress in achieving this goal is to provide more choices in ways to move.
Planners and economists recognize the high value of places created by service concentrations in dense urban settings. For instance, technological cultures, university campuses, health facilities, and business hubs serve large regions with highly prized specializations. In addition, the economic demand for these goods and services is strong enough to produce transit centers linking multiple forms of movement. An effective green plan would recognize the high value of city-center to city-center mobility by recognizing well-established competitive differences. The problem is identifying the high cost of free parking due to the sheer expense of dependence.
The “center-to-center” specializations are not limited to dense urban settings offering high-value services. Effectively re-imagined, a similar place to place destination service could include access to a world of forest trails, lakes, and natural environments. Trips lasting hours, days, or weeks for recreation provide the nourishment that only large open spaces can provide when untouched by private vehicles.
Making it Persuasive
- Creating fast, efficient mobility services to high-value locations provides for the management of human environmental impacts. But, more importantly, managing that investment includes where public funds are not allowed. Examples are along river basins and their flood plains, green fields used for food production, forest and wildlife habitats, even the simple pleasure clean natural sources of water.
- The USA benefits from biodiversity. However, infrastructure is the primary driver of habitat destruction. To reduce conflict, a creative, re-crafting of American transportation is far more than saving a species of butterfly. It is about bringing lives of quality to future generations who will meet the challenge of living in new ways.
- The builders of structures in low-density environments between city centers will recognize a significant center-to-center investment policy as a threat. For example, there are fifteen transit-linked places between Boston and New York. A federal, regionally structured infrastructure strategy will offer “as is above, as is below” resources designed to produce fast, efficient transit services within these sub-regional centers.
- High-speed linkages between NYC, Boston, Newark, Washington DC, and Philadephia have similar links. A stop at Newark could have the same connections planned for communities throughout N.J. Transit sizing existing roadways would link an range of neighborhood downtowns where the same degree of specialization could occur between small businesses, local cultural offerings along the shore, and into the hills of the Garden State.
- Supply-side incentives and demand-side subsidies would illustrate how to increase value by undoing a long list of practices that will weaken reinvestment in the decades ahead. The policy does not threaten low-densities, it produces a powerful center-to-center alternative.
The basic transit example is an undoing of single-purpose roadways designed to serve everything everywhere using cars and trucks. Instead, a federally led regional infrastructure plan offers a competitive alternative.
The stylized map above shows comfortable high-speed rail through the region. A similar approach can produce clean energy, water, and fresh food. It does not directly undo what is being done, but it establishes a competitively new way to Transit-based living with a few practical examples. Yet, without a national policy, that is all they will become. Creating more center-to-center choices utilizing the well-understood functions of regions can sustain the quiet life of low-density neighborhoods while providing unlimited opportunities for growth through density.
The reshaping of the urban landscape is a high priority. Therefore, it should not be surprising that organizations focused on changing will come from Infrastructure.org for a complete review of everything capable of changing the roadway. You can find insight into a simple question: Will the infrastructure bill 2021 make my subway/train service better? This article from a transit specialist in Portland, OR will show you how very hard that will be to discover (here). Or from Streetsblog.org this comic gem on the deep-end mess of the car culture. Voting is closed, but have a look (hither).
The transformation of roadways into multiple vehicle service corridors began in post-war Europe. The fastest way to establish a sense of this right-of-way change is by watching three short videos on how the bicycle transformed three cities. Next, I included a look at the deep end involving hundreds of other vehicles. Finally, I selected a few to examine the potential of small vehicles in dense urban settings.
Other Payload Alternatives
Point A to B
All of them demand smooth roads. More data on the long-term savings accused to their management and maintenance. Stumble through the following. Somewhere, there must be a thread of principle in the following:
- Austin Contrarian
- BLDGBLOG (Building Blog)
- California High Speed Rail Blog
- Caltrain HSR Compatibility Blog
- Cap’n Transit Rides Again
- The Daily Pothole
- Empire State Future
- Energy & Environment Experts Blog (National Journal)
- Fast Lane
- Goodspeed Update
- Greater Greater Washington
- Half-Mile Circles (Reconnecting America)
- How We Drive
- Human Transit
- Infra Insight
- The Launch Box
- M1EK’s Bake-Sale of Bile
- Market Urbanism
- Mobilizing the Region (Tri-State Transportation Campaign)
- NARP Rail Blog
- Net Density
- Next City
- The Overhead Wire
- Pedestrian Observations
- Portland Transport
- Placemaking Blog (Project for Public Spaces)
- Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space
- Seattle Transit Blog
- Second Avenue Sagas
- Steven Can Plan
- Trains and Travel with Jim Loomis
- Transbay Blog
- The Transit Wire
- The Transport Politic
- Transportation Choices
- Transportation for America News & Blog
- Urban Cincy
- Urban Places and Spaces
- Urban Planning and Transportation Blog