Parsing the State of the Union Address for Planners

Three pieces on last night's State of the Union address by President Obama focused largely on what wasn't said, than what was, concerning Energy, Infrastructure, and Urbanism.

At The Transport Politic, Yonah Freemark is glum about the diminished expectations for meaningful transportation improvements in the face of a general election and Congressional opposition. "For the first term at least, the Administration's transportation initiatives appear to have been pushed aside."

In The Atlantic Cities, Nate Berg looks back wistfully at last year's soaring rhetoric about providing High Speed Rail and fixing crumbling infrastructure. "The lack of any real discussion of cities in the 2012 State of the Union suggests that those plans, should the president even win a second term, have been placed firmly on the back burner."

Writing in The Washington Post, Brad Plumer focuses on a subject actually mentioned in the State of the Union -- a "clean energy standard" -- and wonders what exactly the President has in mind. "Early versions required electric utilities to get a certain portion of their power solely from renewable sources like wind or solar (something that 24 states currently do). More recent versions have expanded the list of options to things like nuclear power or natural gas. But a large standard could do a lot to reshape the nation's electricity supply," creating a market for innovation and curbing greenhouse gas emissions in the process.

Full Story: On Infrastructure, Hopes for Progress This Year Look Glum


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