Barack Obama used his weekly web/radio address yesterday to call for an economic stimulus plan that would entail “the single largest new investment in our national infrastructure since the creation of the federal highway system in the 1950s.”
I haven’t seen the actual plan, but his laundry list was promising: retrofit federal government buildings for maximum energy efficiency, build and remodel school buildings, and dedicate resources towards expanding broadband internet access throughout the country.
The only potentially troubling aspect was the equation of transportation infrastructure with “roads and bridges” and no mention of public transportation. Given the numerous statements he’s given on climate change, the emission of less carbon-intensive forms of mobility from his speech could have been the result of time constraints.
Regardless, this type of active spending will likely have tremendous economic benefits if implemented in a systematic fashion. Ignoring the carbon impact of this spending, however, could negate benefits in the long-term if the country finds itself highly indebted and needing to adapt to climate variability.
Michael O’Hare of Berkeley gives a compelling critique of Obama’s address over at the Reality Based Community.