Stimulus Should Fund New, 'Transformative' Ideas

In this column, former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer calls on the Obama Administration to direct its stimulus package towards innovative technologies and "transformative" projects, not just the status quo roads and bridges of the past.

"The 'off the shelf' infrastructure projects that can be funded immediately and provide immediate demand-side stimulus are almost by definition not the transformative investments we really need. Paving roads, repairing bridges that need refurbishing, and accelerating existing projects are all good and necessary, but not transformative. These projects by and large are building or patching the same economy with the same flaws that got us where we are. Our concern should be that as we look for the next great infrastructure project to transform our economy, we might rebuild the Erie Canal and find ourselves a century behind technologically."

"This moment presents the administration with what is likely to be its best-and perhaps only-opportunity to have essentially unlimited capital (both fiscal and political) to spend on a transformative economic agenda. It is a unique moment to build a new foundation. It would be wise to ensure that a significant portion of the stimulus package is spent on new investments that may not be quite as ready to go but are surely more important to our long-term economic viability."

Full Story: Robots, Not Roads



Stimulus Plan and Transformative Ideas

I couldn't agree more about the need for this package to go beyond the infrastructure status quo and especially with the second point of transitioning to electric cars/transportation. However, electric cars are a while off, and even when they do come on line, they will likely be priced out of reach of most (ie the $30k+ Volt scheduled for 2010).

My transformative idea is to build safe routes for vulnerable road users which include scooter and motorcycle riders. Electric scooters are already available everywhere and are relatively affordable. Additionally, many non-electric scooters and motorcycles average between 75 and 100mpg. If Americans had a safe route - ideally exclusive lanes - to commute by scooter or motorcycle, the vehicle mode split would shift dramatically. However, without a safe scooter/motorcycle infrastructure, most view scooter/motorcycle transportation as too risky and are forced to rely on the automobile for personal mobility. Please check out my blog ( for information about how Exclusive Motorcycle Lanes are being implemented throughout the world and the opportunities that exist for the US.


Duane Verner
Exclusive Motorcycle Lanes (EML)

Prepare for the AICP* Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245

Essential Readings in Urban Planning

Planning on taking the AICP* Exam? Register for Planetizen's AICP * Exam Preparation Course to save $25.
Habitat blockitecture tower

Build the world you want to see

Irresistible block set for adults when placed on a coffee table or desk, and great fun for kids.
Women's t-shirt with map of Los Angeles

City T-Shirts for the ladies!

Women's Supersoft CityFabric© Fashion Fit Tees. Now available in six different cities.