Planning for the Future

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Going forward, how do localities move forward in the 21st Century? While a lot of metro areas depend largely on the traditional mode of transportation–cars to get to and from their destinations. However, what separates traditional metro areas from those of the 21st Century is one of commitment to green and alternative transportation. While some metro localities continue with the status, some are progressing into the 21st Century in terms of their commitment to green and alternative transportation, namely in the form of expanding public transit.

One such metro area that is planning for the future–21st Century–is the Metro Atlanta area. In fact,the metro Atlanta area has dedicated “more than half of the $22.8 billion in formal applications (to the state), $13.5 billion were mass transit projects, compared with $8.5 billion in road projects, according to AJC.” As a result, thinking about the future means making a serious commitment from localities to show that they want something other than what has already been the traditional method of transportation–something different, something green, something unique, and finally something that moves the Metro Atlanta region forward rather than backward.

As such, it is great that $13.5 billion of their “formal applications” are for mass transit projects rather than traditional infrastructure projects which have relied primarily on building more bridges, overpasses, and highways. In other words, the Atlanta area is looking at ways to change the notion of what suburbia has come to mean here in the U.S.–miles and miles of endless roads. Instead of endless roads, Metro Atlanta recognizes that suburbia should change its “regional culture” from one of dependence on cars to one that is dependent on green alternative forms of transportation such as mass transit.

Changing such a culture clearly begins with the small step of localities such as Cobb County, a suburb of Atlanta requesting funds from the state that are primarily mass transit and other forms of transportation other than more and more road projects which has traditionally been the case. Thus, to alleviate traffic congestion that often plagues suburban communities like Cobb County, there should be rail lines that extend from the city of Atlanta way out into its suburban communities. Such a change appears to be coming with Atlanta’s suburbs taking a step in the right direction through their commitment to spend more on the future and less on the past. To meet that goal, instead of requesting money to widen suburban highways, they have made a request for spending on new and innovative infrastructure projects in the form of mass transit.

Article by Patrick Kenney, appearing courtesy Justmeans.

About Author

Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.