Fixing America's Ailing Economy

Our new president-elect Barak Obama has proposed to implement a massive public works program to restore our highway/roads infrastructure. While this is generally a sound strategy, the idea has to be refined to address America's long-term needs.

A new plan for America's energy and economic well being;

Vehicles, probably lighter than 500lbs (but that and other details must be worked out) are the foundation of this new plan which I am relating here to you now. It is for these light-weight vehicles that a new, two-lane roadway will be built, and upon this roadway that our economy will be built. The roadway will steal up to a lane from existing roads, and will be separated from the existing roadway by a protective barrier. The new vehicles won't be confronted by SUVs and tractor trailers, that will be accomplished by the barrier wall.

Each lane of the new roadway will be optimized to accomodate light vehicles, which will be narrower than standard vehicles yet will still permit passengers sitting side by side. New speed limits and rules of the road will be utilized on the new roadway. This is not a bicycle lane although it may have provisions for that. We will be driving fast, efficient vehicles on this road; 50mpg or equivalent will be the minimum standard right from the start.

The new road will permit the emergence of myriad new vehicle companies and more. The American auto industry will be making increasingly higher percentages of their fleet for the new roadway.

The materials from which the road will be constructed will be specialized and like all aspects of the undertaking-sustainable. The lighting for the roads will be completely new, meeting demanding specifications for performance and sustainability. The design of the barriers which separate the new lanes from existing lanes will be chosen through an engineering design competition to utilize the most elegant application of materials. Any signals, paint, reflectors, or smart elements in the road, will be integrated through similar criteria.

The roadsides will be reserved for wind and solar capacity, as fields for growing of plants for biofuel, for native habitat, or for sustainable businesses which harmonize with the new plan. T. Boone Pickins or another visionary may take advantage of attractive leasing options to set up wind capacity beside the new roadway.

The businesses servicing road traffic will incorporate new standards of sustainability and automation. At a roadside restaurant, your sandwich will be prepared at least in part by a machine; Future generations will design and maintain automation equipment rather than flipping burgers. There is nothing so grand in the descriptions presented here that even a single facet must be backed down from. Robots and automation equipment WILL perform these tasks for us. If visitors come to compete for American jobs they had better know how to design, maintain or repair our robotic systems if they hope to compete; there will be no humans washing dishes at the new roadside restaurants.

Fast battery recharge stations, battery swap enterprises, and renewable fuel providers will be the best and in fact the only permitted energy vendors (lest we slip into the past).

Special consideration and exemptions will be provided as incentives for setting up shop in these new locations, which will, before long, become the premium place to do business.

Guaranteed leases with highly favorable terms will be granted to those who are willing to innovate. The expectations and demands will be great, the rewards and incentives will be greater.

Our own advantage will not be pulled from our grasp by the Chinese, or any other country. Companies wishing to do any business related to the roadway will conform to a set of standards in sync with the overall philosophy of the undertaking. The workers will be highly trained and adequatly compensated. No components or materials, including down to the smallest screw will be included unless the work-force creating it are provided a realistic wage and fair treatment which will include health benefits. Not a single drop of paint will be applied which does not come from a company meeting a new high standard for environmental consideration. Not an inch of wiring will be included without a certificate of compliance.

Good luck China, you're going to need it. America will not be putting unfair trade practices into play. Rather, America will demonstrate that the era of workers making less than a dollar an hour in companies which pollute the environment without regard- all while decimating American jobs is coming to a planned end.

The road and everything traveling on it or surrounding it will be completely new, incorporate new technology, under a new set of standards that the rest of the world will be unprepared to meet, and which our own citizens will be uniquely enabled to take advantage of.

When it is done our nation will have 100,000 healthy new companies, exporting our technology to the rest of the world and continuing to innovate our own nation.

Our nation will be cleaner, greener, better educated, safer and will have a more secure future.

It will not happen overnight, but it will begin overnght

before comments


The electric vehicle community and industry is in a perfect position to turn our national crisis into an opportunity and a windfall. We are the focus. When that focus is on energy independence we are of course the key players. When the focus is on the environment, we are again, the key element. The economists are so focused on the auto industry; it is from our ranks that the next auto industry will emergy.

The tech talkers and teachers on this site and elsewhere are amazing. To take one's time to assist others in their technology development efforts is a selfless thing to do. That selflessnss is of course another prerequisite for a successful future.

But we are in a position of power and we should be stewards of it, and not let it slip from our grasp. Let us shape the economic future, rather than simply inventing the technology for the future.

I remember as a young man, hearing of the wages that foriegn workers made; making Nike gym shoes. I was in my teens then, but I remember thinking "if the people paying those wages enter other industries, how will we compete? If they make cars and pay their workers a very low wage, then ours will have to make a very low wage."

Then and now I look at our roadsides and think, why are they designed as they are; lifeless and demanding of constant maintenance? You and I are both on this site because we have a common mind that improvement can occur through our action. We must though be politically active too.

There is no such thing as a "Service Economy". That line was fed to us long ago by politicians and look where we are left. Now we are being told by similar minds that we are the innovators and that the rest of the world are the manufacturers. What a blunder it would be to adopt such thinking. The rest of the world might be insulted by it except that we promise through such thinking to hand over the remainder of US industry.

Let us start then to reshape our nation beyond what it has ever promised. Let us start with our transportation system.

What I suggest is not protectionism. The Chinese, the Europeans, those in the Southern America's and all around the world the peoples are our allies in this. There will though be expectations, that elevate all nations. Not even a single screw can be introduced into the new transportaion system that does not confrom to a certificate of compliance; for fair labor practices including wages paid to the workers who make the screw, for environmental conformance of the factories which contribute to that screw's fabrication, and for quality/workmanship of course.

I saw on CNN that 14,000 stores are expected to close their doors in 2009. When this challenge subsides, will we simply rebuild what we had, or will we create something new? Let's let everything start with a new roadway as I described in my previous blog entry. Let that roadway infect our nation with sustainability, and then let us infect the world.

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