Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Shovel-ready infrastructure not likely "green"

The ShovelReady concept has grown rapidly in Canada, the US and Europe. Introduced in 1997, it embodies the requirement for a stimulus package to have immediate results with special emphasis on job creation, physical projects and speed.

In the US, the National Governors Association projects include railroad crossing fixes, sewer lines, water systems, and road projects. Nothing is said about these being "green."

Ohio-based economic development professional John Michael Spinelli draws a distinction between infrastructure projects that are shovel-ready and those that are future-ready.

"The need for the nation to find a better, more affordable and realistic road to mass transit, which is growing in popularity as family and community budgets tighten in the wake of job losses from companies that have thrown in the towel, is clear."

Spinelli mentions Tubular Rail his own invested favourite, PRT, and Monomobile (image above) as promising "outlier technologies" that move beyond thinking that is "mired in expanding on conventional, old-school technology."

Spinelli warns that current transportation systems are "costly, difficult to build and environmentally unfriendly." Unfortunately, the relevant bureaucrats are "totally risk averse by nature, only seem interested in fully baked cakes -- late stage commercialization in program talk -- and don't seem too eager to help start-up companies gain the traction they need to show their technologies may be eminently cheaper than conventional transportation infrastructure, not to mention quicker to be built which translates into new, sustainable jobs."
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