Dear Honorable [Member of Congress],
Please, support a green infrastructure economic recovery plan.
In the past you and your party have promoted the old gray economy right along with the Republicans. This sprawl-inducing, big roads, mega-energy strategy has proven to be a catastrophic economic and environmental failure. The so-called stimulus bills being considered merely repeat this sad strategy. The economic devastation visited upon the car-oriented, energy-gluttonous suburbs is quite obvious.
But the very same policies of gluttony also got us into these morale-sapping, constitution-shredding, treasury-depleting, murderous oil wars. It is time to change. We said this repeatedly, and made it abundantly clear in the presidential election of 2008. But so far, all we have seen from our elected representatives are proposals for building more and bigger highways, wasteful electrical transmission lines and other energy-gluttonous, wasteful proposals.
We want you to lead us beyond those wasteful, gray, dead-end strategies.
Here are our suggestions:
Pedestrians, Bicycles, Transit First! We want robust funding for public transit. Local, regional, and long-distance transit must be the new centerpiece for 21st Century transportation. The walls between operating and capital budgets must be torn down (as recently proposed by the nation's largest transit union.) The fixation on capital puts transit at a distinct disadvantage and is bankrupting systems across the country.
Wisconsin's major transit systems are no exception as bus riders are facing punitively exorbitant fare increases and service cuts so Draconian that people are routinely left at bus stops due to overcrowded buses. That must end. We need massive investments in maintaining and operating those transit systems, as well as capital to upgrade them. (More details are provided by the and livable neighborhoods while preserving the rural and natural areas of Wisconsin and the rest of the country. have very good, very detailed analyses and policy proposals for a more just, open, accessible and equitable transportation policy. These policy proposals should form the centerpiece of the stimulus bill.
No More Mega-Energy!
A massive weatherization and efficiency program could slash home and business energy consumption radically. Combined with locally sited, small-scale renewable energy investments, mega-coal plants and mega-transmission lines would be obsolete and obviated. Our addiction to distant energy sources has caused enough trouble, from mercury poisoning of our lakes to fouling the air we breathe to melting polar ice caps. Let's get smart this time and prevent catastrophe.
The energy wasteful projects we are seeing coming out of congress will result in more wars, more shredding of our constitutional liberties and a continued diminution of America's standing in this world.
We demand something different this time!
Michael D. Barrett
Michael D. Barrett is an energy efficiency and neighborhood plan analyst with Representative Tammy Baldwin, Senator Herb Kohl, and Senator Russ Feingold, and published on the Madison Bikies mailing list.