10 February 2009

Those Days Are Over

"The days where we're just building sprawl forever, those days are over."

- Obama at a town hall event in Ft. Meyers, today. On C-Span, second to last question (at time 58:15), from a city councilwoman.

Also on the White House blog:
1:07 p.m.: Question: How can you help with infrastructure and transportation? Answer: We've got a lot of work to do. Nods to American Society of Civil Engineer's recently released 2009 Report Card for American Infrastructure, which gives the country's roads, bridges, and ports a national grade of D. Makes a case for high-speed rail and mass tranit -- says the days of sprawl are over. "Everyone recognizes that's not a good way to design communities."
“We have to target billions of dollars at infrastructure spending. And states all across the country are going through what Florida is going through. There was a study done by the American Association of Engineers… that might not be the exact title, but engineers from all across the country …. we get a D in infrastructure all across the country. We saw what happened in Minneapolis, where a bridge collapsed and resulted in tragedy. And not only do we need to rebuild our roads, bridges, ports, levees… our damns. But we also have to plan for the future. This the same example of turning crisis into opportunity. This should be a wake-up call for us.”

“You go to Shanghai, China right now… and they’ve got high-speed rail that puts our railroads to shame. They’ve got ports that are state of the art. Their airports, are… compared to the airports that we…you go through Beijing airport and you compare that to Miami Airport?”

“Now… now…look.. this is America. We've always had the best infrastructure. We were always willing to invest in the future. You know somebody… Governor Christ mentioned Abraham Lincoln. In the middle of the Civil War, in the midst of all this danger and peril, what did he do? He helped move the Intercontinental Railroad. He helped to start land grant colleges. He understood that even when you are in the middle of crisis, you got to keep your eye on the future. 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… 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.”


Anonymous said...

I love what Obama's saying. He's a great orator. I just wonder if it will ever go beyond talk.

BTW, I mentioned you in my last post:

Randy Simes said...

Funny thing is that I actually know the City Council woman from Bonita Springs, FL who asked the question that provoked that response from President Obama. Small world.

CityKin said...

It might just be words, but they are words I never thought I would hear from a president.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you but until we (in Ohio) have responsible land-use reforms from the state government (like the Republicans initiated in Oregon), we will always lag behind because of the sprawl-monster.