Oftentimes, the toughest part about introducing new renewable energy projects is finding the right site to install them. Society still often regards wind turbines as eyesores, and many still prefer a slate roof to one covered with photovoltaics.
But in Belgium, there's a new massive solar installation that even the toughest NIMBY neighbor would have a hard time criticizing.
For some reason, high-speed rail has been pigeonholed as nothing more than an environmental and energy issue. All too often overlooked is the positive economic, business, and development impact of building reliable, speedy mass transit. This video from the Regional Plan Association makes a pretty bulletproof case not only for the benefit of high-speed rail in the Northeast Corridor of the United States, but for its necessity.
Yesterday, "Amtrak Joe" Biden and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood took to Philadelphia's historic 30th Street Station to reveal the administration's new, refined plans for America's high-speed rail. In short, President Obama is calling for a $53 billion investment over the next six years—including $8 billion next year—with the ultimate goal of giving 80 percent of Americans access to high-speed rail within 25 years. (This comes on top of the $10.5 billion already devoted to HSR—$8 billion of Recovery Act funds and $2.5 billion from the 2010 budget.)
We've long pined for the rapid build-out of a HSR network, and this announcement is a good sign that the administration isn't backing off some bold earlier claims. Even more encouraging is this language from the White House press release that followed Biden's announcement (emphasis mine):
A new report by America 2050 has looked at the places in the country where high-speed rail could attract the most riders and, therefore, be the most effective. Download the full PDF here. The map above ranks them. The darker routes are better. As you can see, the Northeast corridor, California, and an area radiating out of Chicago are the most promising. The report is more specific about what is required to support high speed rail:
1: Major employment centers surrounded by medium-sized employment centers and population hubs all within 600 miles.