With oil prices spiking and the nation’s rail system in urgent need of an overhaul, it would seem like the last thing we need is more roads and less rails. And yet, that’s just what we’re getting. The governor of one state recently turned down a chance to build a new $2.4 billion high speed rail system at no cost to state taxpayers, and now the legislature of another state has just proposed a $2.8 billion highway system upgrade that state residents will have to pay for with an increased diesel tax and an increase on the state sales tax. Say, who’s running this show anyways?
Roads and Greenhouse Gas Emissions
To be fair, highway improvements do have a place in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. If the goal is to alleviate congestion, then Bob’s your uncle. It’s also fair to point out that in the sparkling green future of decentralized renewable energy production, you’re going to put more goods and people on the road for installation, maintenance, and repair, so highway improvements are going to be vital in the long run – and in the long run, electric vehicles and other alternative fuels will help ensure that more vehicular traffic does not translate into more greenhouse gas emissions.
Roads, Rails and Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Of course, another way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions related to vehicles is to build a strong, sensible network of mass transportation alternatives. In that regard, there must have been a very good reason for the Governor of Florida to put the kibosh on a fully funded high speed rail construction project that would have created thousands of new green jobs in addition to providing long term economic benefits, without putting his state’s taxpayers on the hook for any of it. Yes, a very good, sensible reason. As in, a reason that makes sense. Come to think of it – speaking of oil prices – maybe it does make sense after all. As Butthead would say, “Uhhh…huh huh huh.”
Image: Beavis and Butthead by Antonio Tajuelo on flickr.com.
Tina Casey specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Tina’s articles are reposted frequently on Reuters, Scientific American, and many other sites. You can also follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.