If you listen to President Obama, he's saying some good things about energy and environment. Here's a recent quote:
"So transportation, when it is not just fixing our old transportation systems, but it’s also imagining new transportation systems. That’s why I’d like to see high speed rail where it can be constructed. I would like for us to invest in mass transit. Because potentially that’s energy efficient and I think a lot more people are open now to thinking regionally in terms of how we plan our transportation infrastructure. The days where we’re just building sprawl forever? Those days are over. I think that Republicans, Democrats… everybody recognizes that that’s not a smart way to design communities. So we should be using this money to help spur this kind of innovative thinking when it comes to transportation. That’ll make a big difference.”
My daughter is an environmental planner. Here's what she had to say just last week:
"...Increase densities in cities with growth boundaries and incentives to decrease build-out. Make residential green building design affordable..."
I can see that idea beginning to work in my community of Las Colinas in Irving, Tx. Las Colinas has been a planned development for nearly 30 years now. It had an explosion in the early 80's, and then some stagnation in the 90's, Recently, the activity in the Las Colinas urban center has picked up dramitically. Why, because light rail is coming. With the Las Colinas light rail connection to downtown coming in 2011, and then connecting to DFW airport shortly thereafter, a major influx of high density building is taking off.
Light rail centered development has already occurred in Dallas at Mockingbird Station, downtown at Victory Plaza, and others. And it isn't just Dallas. Other cities have seen this as well. What I hope for is that this goes beyond using rail to travel around the metroplex. High Speed rail interconnecting major Texas cities like Dallas-Austin-San Antonio, Dallas-Houston, Dallas-Denver, would open major new realms of low cost, environmentally friendly travel.
We need not only the spending, but an attitude change by Americans to make this possible. The attitude change is already underway in our younger generations, it just needs to spread to the old folks in congress.