Perhaps the most daunting of all of his goals was his mission for America’s future high speed rail network — this challenge could really be the Apollo project of our generation. At present, the Acela Express is the only high speed rail network in the US servicing Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. and though other rails around the country have been planned, few have broken ground. Even those that have been fully fleshed out, like the line running from Anaheim to San Francisco in California, will not be starting construction until next year. The President’s goal gives us a mere 15 years to string a rail network around our vast nation. The good news is, with more than 80% of our population living in urban centers, and most of those urban centers located on the coasts, we’ve got a pretty good idea of where the rail systems need to lie. So though a President’s promise for a network in 15 years doesn’t set anything in stone, it should seriously push forward plans for more tracks.
It was clear that in the President’s address last night our sustainable future is at the top of his most important things list. His green points were proposed within the context of providing jobs to Americans and strengthening our economy — which is the right way to get even the Right wingers on his side. “To win the future,” the President said, “we’ll need to take on challenges that have been decades in the making.” He challenged the country, “to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world. We have to make America the best place on Earth to do business.” It is clear that the road he sees to continuing American Progress is lined with wind turbines and driven on by electric cars.
WHY THIS MATTERS:
As the leader of our nation, President Obama called our students, scientists, designers and all citizens to action by making it very clear that if we don’t stop thinking in terms of old technology (oil), we’re going to fall seriously behind compared to other countries in the world. He set out some clear goals, from seeing 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2015, having 80% clean energy by 2035, and getting 80% of Americans to have access to high speed rail networks in 25 years – which will not only reduce dangerous emissions that are contributing to climate change but will also create jobs and reduce or eliminate our dependence on foreign and domestic oil – that give Americans something specific to work towards.