The View from 2050

Sunday’s RTD was relatively tame in the commentary and analysis department, including some unobjectionable staff editorials and not one but two articles by Jeff Schapiro informing us that George Allen’s “macaca” speech was a really big gaffe. (You don’t say?)

The most interesting cluster of articles was on page E5, focusing on transportation. The first two articles, by Democratic delegate Frank Hall and Republican majority leader Morgan Griffith, presented what will strike most readers as partisan bickering over the failure of the Virginia legislature to address the state’s transportation problems.

On the other hand, at the bottom of the page Neal Peirce informs us of what some cities are actually doing to tackle a central problem that is deeply intertwined with the transportation issue: namely, taking aggressive steps at the local level to limit carbon dioxide emissions and the threat of global warming. The most impressive action has taken place in Seattle, due to the leadership of the city’s publicly owned utility (Seattle City Light), in cooperation with other important players in the city; specific steps including limiting power plant emissions, use of alternative fuels, and energy-saving designs in buildings. Peirce reports that King County (Seattle) Executive Ron Sims endorses a “2050 mindset.” This mindset involves “assuming it’s already mid-century and looking backward to see whether today’s major decisions on big highway or public-transit systems–make sense on the basis of their carbon impact.”

That seems like an eminently reasonable and prudent stance. Here’s hoping some of that longer-term thinking makes it way over to here Virginia, and that the staffs of both Mr. Hall and Mr. Griffiths take time to clip, read, and discuss the Peirce article as well as those of their bosses.

Published in: on September 3, 2006 at 6:04 pm  Leave a Comment  

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