Sunday Train: Help Wanted. 1% Solutions. Apply Within.

(8PM EST – promoted by Nightprowlkitty)

Burning the Midnight Oil for Living Energy Independence

OK, the story so far:

  • “BP”, which seems to stand for “Blatant Phonies”, lies about being able to fix a problem it lies about being almost certain not to happen and due to entirely predictable criminal negligence catastrophe strikes
  • … because we in the US are addicted to crude oil, the “Texas Tea” that finances the Texas Tea Parties
  • … and if we cut our petroleum addiction by 5% each year, in 20 years we’ll be off the stuff.

Transport needs about 7 5% solutions per decade over the next two decades. With the White House policy as one, Steel Interstates, Nationwide Oil-Free Liberty Transport networks, 5% of trips by Active Transport, and doubling the fuel efficiency of cars carrying 10% of passengers, that’s 5 of the 7.

But of course, five 1% solutions make a 5% solution too. So I am looking for 10 “1% solutions”. Heck, if we have enough of them, we can get 10% over the next two decades from 1% solutions even if they are not all 1%.  

NB: Those on Twitter, consider spreading the #BrokenPumps hashtag

Regional High Speed Rail

Now, I think that Express High Speed Rail over the next twenty years will end up being one of the 5% solutions. But Express High Speed Rail takes a long time to build … just San Franscisco to LA via the Central Valley and Tampa / Orlando / Miami, the only two systems that have started to receive actual break-ground funding, could easily be only really getting going after 2020 (though the Tampa / Orlando starter leg may be hitting its stride within the current decade).

But since Regional HSR is designed to share track, at the 110mph tier, and corridor, at the 125mph tier, it can be rolling much more quickly than that. It is ideally suited for connecting smaller centers into major metropolitan areas and medium sized centers to each other … but we have a whole hell of a lot of that to do.

Consider Northwest New York. Syracuse / Rochester / Buffalo should be the first priority on the Empire Corridor for cranking up to 125mph, because at sufficient speed that can support trains every hour or two through the daytime hours and into the evening.

Funding: the funding for these corridors can be provided from the general fund with a $5b/year appropriation dedicated to High Speed Rail and a guaranteed $1b/year of that for upgrade to or original construction of 125mph electrified Regional HSR.

The Family That Cycles Together … uh, sticks together.

Every summer families hit the highway to go on vacation. And the trip to get there is often the worst part.

What about vacationing away closer to home? All across the country there are recreational cycleways … and all across the country, the plans to connect the cycleways into state and regional networks are often more aspiration than realization.

Every county in the country above a certain very rural population density should have some form of recreational cycleway traversing it from border to border. At intervals of a six hour easy ride for older children or adults with children in tow, there should be rest area / camping grounds.

Is it possible to get cash strapped families to get away from their umbilical cord connecting them to their automobiles? Well, some. And of course, not only can the recreational cycleways be used for a low-impact, relatively easy on the budget family vacation … but the construction of the cycleways and the rest areas could be used to provide temporary work to the unemployed.

And of course – what it is possible for people to imagine doing will change dramatically when, not if, gasoline hits $6 to $8 per gallon in 2010 dollars sometime in the decade ahead.

Funding: I’d be thinking this would be somewhere in the range of $1/person/year, or $300m. First, let me freak out the diabetes creation industry and suggest a tax on sweetened drinks. Next, I’d like to freak out the useless middlemen in the health insurance and proposed a windfall tax on health insurance company profits. If they do not like the idea, set a tax on oil extraction on public lands that will cover the cost.

Pluggable Hybrid School Buses

I got this one from A Siegel:

Now, these buses are not cheap … showing up at $225,000 each as opposed to a ‘typical’ school bus of $75,000. But, these plug-ins are far from the mass-produced, assembly line stage, but the test and evaluation versions.  For the future, the question that requires answering: For a doubling of fuel efficiency (and 90% reduction in pollution), what is the price differential that is worth paying?   According to Badger’s discussion:

A 100 bus order will drop the price per bus to about $140,000, which, according to our Transportation Director, will make the 15 year life-cycle cost comparable to a traditional school bus costing around $78,000.

We’ve got about half a million school buses. That means getting full replacement is 50,000 per year. Taking the (high) $140,000 per bus, that is $7b/year. Spreading that around by “only” subsidizing half the cost of the bus gives $3.5b/year.

Funding: Finance and Insurance is a $2T industry that has brain-drained some of the best products of our educational institutions into complex financial game playing where it turns out the greater the intelligence required to understand the game, the more likely it is to be destructive rather than destructive. Somewhere in that $2T+ revenue there has got to be transactions that can be taxes at a low percentage rate to raise $3.5b/yr.

Your Turn

I cannot do this alone. I need help, I really do. I need your 1% solutions, or else this is going to fall short. Help!

{deep breath} … OK, better now. In other words, what 1% solutions can you come up with?

The Headliners: Midnight Oil with River Runs Red

Shot in front of the Exxon building in NY to protest the Exxon Valdex disaster. The prevention of the oil from hitting the shore in Prince William Sound was the responsibility of Blatant Phony, who lied about their capabilities and then fired those trained to respond, replacing them with “phony responders” … people without expertise or training, who just happened to be working for Blatant Phony anyway and were names to fill in on reports.

So you cut all the tall trees down

You poisoned the eart and the sky

You’ve taken what’s good from the ground

But you left precious little for me

You remember the flood and the fall

We remember the light on the hill

There should be enough for us all

But the dollar is driving us still

River runs red

Black rain falls

Dust in my hand

River runs red

Black rain falls

On my bleeding land

So we came and conquered and found

Riches of commons and kings

Who strangled and wrestled the ground

But they never put back anything

Now I’m trapped like a dog in a cage

Wherever the truth is pursued

It must be the curse of the age

What’s taken is never renewed

River runs red

Black rain falls

Dust in my hand

River runs red

Black rain falls

On my bleeding land  

3 comments

    • BruceMcF on May 31, 2010 at 3:43 am
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