February 8th, 2010
By Harriet Blake
Green Right Now
In his Jan. 27 State of the Union Address, President Obama included high-speed rail, stating, “From the first railroads to the Interstate Highway System, our nation has always been built to compete. There’s no reason Europe or China should have the fastest trains or the new factories that manufacture clean-energy products.”
He followed that up with a visit to Tampa the next day, where he stated that $8 billion in grants would be going to a Tampa-Orlando-Miami route in Florida, followed by similar rail projects in California and Illinois.
This is music to the ears of longtime train advocate Anthony Perl, a fellow with the Post Carbon Institute (PCI). The San Francisco-area institute in an apolitical think tank that envisions a world of communities and economies that thrive within ecological bounds. The president’s address spurred PCI to send Obama an open letter applauding the speech but imploring him to lead the transition to a post-carbon economy by, in part, preparing for the future with cost-effective energy, such as trains. In addition to his position with PCI, Perl is the director of the Urban Studies Program at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia.