Friday, April 11, 2008

From a recent email...

I recently participated in an email exchange related to these important sprawl issues. I thought I'd post my response below. Hopefully it helps...
One of the most troubling things in Alabama is that state law prohibits the use of gas tax revenue for non-road building/repair transportation strategies.

What if a portion of the gas tax could be used to facilitate rail transportation between Huntsville, Birmingham, Montgomery, and Mobile?

Or, in a partnership with Georgia and/or Tennessee to extend rail options from Alabama to Nashville and Atlanta?

Ultimately, the long term future of air travel is bleak. Within 10 to 20 years, only the richest of rich will enjoy this perk. The concept of commercial aviation companies like Delta, Southwest, and United will be, at best, nostalgic reminders of a cheap oil era. One that fell victim to the ages-old reality that demand is always defeated by a lack of supply—in this case non-renewable fuels.

The outlook for commercial trucking is even worse. Hybrids and plug-in EVs might salvage some local vehicular travel but not the big rigs. They’ll lose out to the more cost effective (and less energy intensive) rail and river methods of transportation

As members of these communities, we can choose to embrace (and advocate) these issues today or we can continue down the dead-end route of supporting unneeded bypasses and elevated highways—an approach that will simply make the changes forced on us by Peak Energy that much harder to bear.