(8:00PM EST – promoted by Nightprowlkitty)
There was an article in today’s local newspaper about a “Green Freeway” stretching from Canada to Mexico. It would pass through only three states, all led by progressive Governors and Legislatures (or at least two of the governors.) There are only a few places in America where you can drive from Canada to Mexico and cross only three states. (But how progressive is Utah?)
As the plan stands, motorists eventually would be able to pull off at I-5 rest stops for more than a cup of coffee and roadside relief: They also would be able to charge, or swap out, their electric-vehicle batteries or fill their tanks with biodiesel, ethanol, hydrogen or compressed natural gas.
There are, of course, hurdles, challenges, and obstacles which must be confronted before any of this becomes a reality.
Hop in a barrel and follow me over the fa-a-a-a-alls.
Much of this plan will be made possible by the passage of President Obama’s Stimulus Package and the funding it provides for transportation projects. Not that the planning began recently, but that now it becomes realistically feasible with the potential funds from the Federal Government.
This project will create new jobs and foster new industries. Washington State, Oregon, and California have an opportunity to demonstrate to the rest of the Nation how the Stimulus Package provides both short term job creation as well as long term development to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
Gov. Chris Gregoire and her counterparts in Oregon and California are considering a plan they hope would help transform Interstate 5 from a freeway ruled by gasoline burners to a haven for eco-friendly cars and trucks.
Not surprisingly, there has been some opposition to this plan:
The idea is drawing opposition from interest groups that say the state-approved stations would compete with nearby private businesses.
That is one of the “obstacles” mentioned earlier. Here is one of the “hurdles”:
The move would need to clear layers of local and federal approval. Supporters say the plan would fit with the nationwide push for green jobs and alternative-energy development, and put the states in line for some of the $15 billion in federal stimulus money dedicated to energy-related programs.
This project seems to be not only doable, wise, beneficial, and forward-looking, but also one that would garner support locally and nationally and with the support of Congress and President Obama, one that would likely succeed.
Doyle said he’s slogging through the legalities of getting the federal government to approve commercial development alongside an interstate. He said that if the plan is approved, the rest stops would not resemble some East Coast rest areas that feature fast-food restaurants and souvenir shops.
Out here on the West Coast, most rest stops are situated in a rural setting and frequently shaded by a tall canopy of trees with the building(s) and parking lot minimally intrusive to the natural environment.
Doyle said the state wouldn’t want alternative-fuel stations to disrupt rest-area traffic, so contract companies would have to provide small, low-profile setups. Doyle added that rest-stop fueling sites would be self-service and likely to have little or no on-site staffing.
This whole project remains in the planning stages, but it is one of those transportation items that could be “shovel ready” soon, provided that all of the necessary approvals are forthcoming.
He said Oregon and California are not likely to start on their ends of the project as soon as Washington, which also is looking at setting up alternative-fuel stations at Park-and-Ride lots.
Washington State has been taking a lead role in this project and is ahead of California and Oregon in taking this from dream to reality. This is not some pie-in-the-sky project that appeared out of nowhere.
Doyle said no contracts for the fuel stations have been signed. But the head of a California-based company that has electric-car service stations in Israel, and is in the midst of expanding to Hawaii, the Bay Area, Australia and Ontario, Canada, has met with Gregoire, Brown said.
This is President Obama’s Stimulus Package in operation. Projects such as this one need to be touted all across America so that Joe Average Citizen can see the immediate and long-term benefits of the plan recently passed by Congress and signed by the President. (It’s kind of strange to capitalize the word “president” after eight years of avoiding to do so. I haven’t yet typed the word “administration” without the previously required prefix “mis-“.)
All citations from the Seattle Times article.
Cross posted at the big orange.