Responding to a question from a city councilwoman about transportation and infrastructure in the stimulus bill during a town hall forum in Ft. Myers, Florida, President Obama said that the days of just building sprawl are over.
From a transcript provided by Transportation for America:
Not only do we need to rebuild our roads, our bridges, our ports, our levies, our dams, but we also have to plan for the future. This is the same example of turning crisis into opportunity...Now, look, this is America. We always had the best infrastructure. We were always willing to invest in the future. Governor Crist mentioned Abraham Lincoln. In the middle of the Civil War, in the midst of all this danger and peril, what did he do? He helped move the intercontinental railroad. He helped start land grant colleges. He understood that even when you’re in the middle of crisis, you’ve got to keep your eye on the future. So transportation is not just fixing our old transportation systems but its also imaging new transportation systems.
That’s why I’d like to see high speed rail where it can be constructed. That’s why I would like to invest in mass transit because potentially that’s energy efficient and I think people are alot more open now to thinking regionally in terms of how we plan our transportation infrastructure. The days where we’re just building sprawl forever, those days are over. I think that Republicans, Democrats, everybody recognizes that that’s not a smart way to build communities. So we should be using this money to help spur this kind of innovative thinking when it comes to transportation. That will make a big difference.