Obama’s Energy Platform Has a (Small) Livable Cities Plank

When Barack Obama gave his big energy speech on Monday, his campaign released an eight-page fact sheet [PDF] to go with it. All the way at the end, at the very bottom of the last page — after the parts about plug-in electric vehicles, oil shale, and clean coal technology — there’s this paragraph:

Build More Livable and Sustainable Communities:
Over the long term, we know that the amount of fuel we will use is directly related to our land use decisions and development patterns. For the last 100 years, our communities have been organized around the principle of cheap gasoline. Barack Obama believes that we must devote substantial resources to repairing our roads and
bridges. He also believes that we must devote significantly more attention to investments that will
make it easier for us to walk, bicycle and access other transportation alternatives. Obama is
committed to reforming the federal transportation funding and leveling employer incentives for driving and public transit.

It’s something, but not exactly a compelling pitch (not to mention that the "roads and bridges" bit reads like a sop to the highway lobby).

On the stump, meanwhile, the candidate continues to make an engaging case for high-speed rail, especially in the midwest. Air travel, apparently, is not much of a sacred cow compared to driving and big lawns. Via Trains for America, here’s an excerpt from a recent speech Obama delivered in Ohio:

"If you think about the Midwest, think about right here, what we’ve got is all kind of towns that we could connect," Obama said. "All of these cities are, they basically take in the air about 45 minutes to an hour to fly."

"But by the time you get to the airport," Obama continued, "take off your shoes, get to the terminal, realize that your flight’s been delayed two hours, go pay $10 for a cup of coffee, and a sandwich for another $10, come back, you get on the plane, you’re sitting on the tarmac for another 25 minutes, you finally take off, you’re circling above the city for another half hour, when you land they can’t find your luggage, and then you get to where you’re going — by the time it’s all done it’s a five-hour trip! …So the time is right now for us to start thinking about high-speed rail as an alternative to air transportation, connecting all these cities and think about what a great project that would be in terms of rebuilding America."

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Is Barack Obama the Livable Streets Candidate?

|
Barack Obama is a long-time cyclist (Photo: Chicago Tribune) The current crop of Presidential candidates are busy debating the energy crisis, national security, climate change, health care, all of which potentially pose a serious threat to America’s future. We can begin to address all of these issues simultaneously by transforming our cities into more sustainable […]

How Do We Make Clean Transportation Part of the National Discussion?

|
Like Joe Biden, Barack Obama also mentioned Amtrak in his acceptance speech to the Democratic National Convention, but only in reference to his running mate’s preferred mode of transportation. There were many, many things to be excited about yesterday, but any livable streets advocate anticipating a call to rebuild and expand our nation’s transit infrastructure, […]

Obama: America “Cannot Walk Away” From the Automobile

|
In his first address to a joint session of Congress, President Barack Obama last night emphasized his administration’s commitment to keeping the domestic auto industry afloat, while offering only a passing mention to the nation’s mass transit systems. Said Obama: As for our auto industry, everyone recognizes that years of bad decision-making and a global […]

Portland Elects Cyclist Mayor; Obama Draws 8,000 on Bikes

|
 On Tuesday, voters in Portland, Oregon elected Sam Adams as their next mayor. A former Congressional staffer and current Portland city commissioner, Adams — who is a cyclist — ran on a platform that emphasized environmental and progressive growth initiatives, including, in the words of the Oregonian, "use [of] the Portland Streetcar and better planning […]

Who is the Livable Streets Candidate?

|
It’s Super Duper Tuesday, primary election day here in New York. If you’re still mulling your options and trying to figure out who the best candidate on Livable Streets issues is, Damien Newton of Street Heat L.A. and the editor of soon-to-be-launched Streetsblog Los Angeles, dug up the positions of the Democrats and Republicans for […]