Friends of the Earth--Road lobby attempting to hijack stimulus
President-elect Obama and Congress are working to pass a green-jobs economic stimulus package -- but it is in danger of being hijacked by the road-building lobby, which wants billions of dollars for unnecessary new roads that would increase global warming pollution.
Transportation is responsible for 30 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and 70 percent of our oil consumption. By investing in clean transportation solutions including public transportation and smart growth, the stimulus package can create green jobs and reduce our dependence on oil.
But now the road-building lobby wants to divert billions of dollars to new highway projects. New road construction creates fewer jobs than investing in public transit and maintaining pre-existing roads and bridges. And there's the environmental impact: just 10 miles of a new four-lane highway lead to emissions that are equivalent to the lifetime emissions of 46,700 new Hummers.
Rather than new highways, we need to maintain our current system. We also need major investments in expanding and improving access to public transportation, passenger rail, and bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. Such investments make environmental and economic sense. Investing in public transportation reduces pollution and creates 19 percent more jobs than building new roads.
Moving toward a cleaner, more efficient transportation system will help our economy and our climate. The economic stimulus package has the potential to hasten this transition and create millions of jobs--but not if it gets hijacked by a highway lobby that wants to take America down the wrong road.
Sincerely, Colin and Kate Friends of the Earth Transportation Team
Editors Note: Hooray for the Friends of the Earth! They know that there is more to green transportation than hybrid vehicles. I am optimistic that the other big environmental organizations will follow their lead.