Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Much about High Speed Rail in local transportation news recently:


There are many news stories about more federal funding for high speed rail for New York State. As we have mentioned over the last year, high speed rail would be good for our environment by offering a viable choice for inter-state travel other than greenhouse gas emitting vehicles. But it’s going to take a lot more than the present funding to get a large portion of the public to consider train and other mass transportation options in our region.

Yet, it must happen as our present system is not economically or environmentally sustainable.

At some point—higher gasoline prices, loss of more jobs, and other economic issues related to our present car/truck/road transportation system and dramatic (frequent extreme) weather changes—the public will shift to a more environmentally friendly transportation system and we hope that is soon enough.

They will move to another transportation system because when a system is unsustainable, it means that no matter how ‘normal and presently conventional’ it seems to pay a sizable portion of our taxes, our paychecks on the present system, it will become cost prohibited at some point. Oil prices will overtake family budgets, building more roads and fixing all the existing bridges will be too much of a burden on the public.

But most of all, we are going to have to drastically reduce our greenhouse gas emissions soon and one of the quickest ways to do that is to begin using mass transportation, as many other countries are doing.

Small changes, like buying more fuel efficient vehicles, will not be enough in an environment that is quickly warming and perhaps moving towards a tipping point. The more we delay the massive changes we need to make in order to address Climate Change, the more drastic the changes will have to be.

That’s the thing about unsustainable practices in our environment: things come to an end.

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