Opinions

Obama’s transportation policy incomplete, needs resolution in 2nd term

By Joe Skoog ’13
THE ROUNDUP

In a list of important issues for President Barack Obama’s second term, the “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act” would usually not seem very relevant.

This transportation bill focused on creating both incentives for companies to build infrastructure and subsidies for companies to streamline the highway system and pave the way for further advancements in green transportation technology, as well as better access to mass transit for more members of society.

Specifically at Brophy, certain students struggle every day finding a way to get to school. While the school is in a central location and the administration supports carpooling, there are still a large number of cars on the road that are driven by Brophy students and parents, often coming from outside of the Central Phoenix area.

However, even surface transportation infrastructure, something that Obama worked to pass in his first term, was an incomplete vision.

According to Alon Levy, a transportation commentator, a second Obama term could garner continued advancements in the United States’ infrastructure, including a renewed transportation bill and even steps as large as High Speed Rail.

High Speed Rail would be built on both existing rail lines, and new rail lines throughout both Arizona and the rest of the United States.

With the high rate of speed, people can get to work or to school far faster than they would be able to in their cars.

In addition, people taking High Speed Rail will trade off with those who drive, which is better for the environment.

Transportation is the bedrock of our nation. Failure to invest in our transportation infrastructure can lead to ill effects.

Continuing to work towards policies that would allow for alternatives to traditional driving would go a long way in reducing many citizens’ carbon footprints.

Things like High Speed Rail or even increasing Light Rail access to more areas can allow a greener way of getting to school and even getting around on the weekends.

Additionally, the lack of more accessible public transportation can result in traffic that causes cars to idle on the road. That is a large contribution to global warming.

According to NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies, road transportation will be the greatest contributor to global warming for the next 50 years.

This has global implications as Ron Burwell, Director of the Energy and Climate Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace stated earlier this year in an article for the Carnegie Endowment, “By moving forward with a transportation bill that invests in a green transportation system, the United States could show other countries—particularly China, India, and other emerging economies—that it is serious about reducing its transportation carbon and this would contribute to the likelihood of a global climate agreement.”

Obama’s second term is a critical juncture in which he can take a stand for more efficient infrastructure both in our nation and around the globe.