"I Write Not To Escape Our Ills, But To Seek The Truth To Make It Right."
Thursday, September 14, 2017
CONGRESS MUST SPEND HURRICANE RELIEF WISELY AND MOVE TO REBUILD FLORIDA, PUERTO RICO & U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS NOW
WILL AMERICA FINALLY ACCEPT CLIMATE
CHANGE OR REBUILD ONLY TO ADAPT? WE CAN DO BOTH
aftermath of a major catastrophic event, politicians will push their way to the
front of the media cameras to grab the optics so to show their constituents “they
are in office to help, no matter the cost.” You heard it first from President
Trump even before Harvey or Irma hit landfall. He promised the full power and
resources of the Federal Government in coming to the rescue.
To date, “the Senate approved $15.25
billion in disaster aid as part of an agreement struck by President Trump. The bill
passed by a vote of 80 to 17 on Thursday afternoon. The House is expected to
quickly vote on the package, despite growing opposition from fiscal
conservatives who oppose pairing aid with debt and spending elements.”
initial aid package of $15.25 billion breaks down this way.
$450 million for the SBA (Small
Business Authority) disaster loan program
$7.4 billion in grants for housing
affected areas (HUD?)
$7.4 billion for FEMA (Federal
Emergency Management Agency)
that seems like a ton of cash it is, but remember this aid is only the
beginning of the flow of new debt to Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin
Islands and other affected areas of the
Caribbean. The total long-term investment by
taxpayers will certainly enter triple figures for taxpayers.
this $15 billion will only aid to restore power, water, clean up roads and get
businesses back up and running. The huge effort will follow as tens of
thousands of homes will require rebuilding. So, why not examine what we can do to not only rebuild but work with a
vision toward reducing our fossil fuel dependence.
some actions or stipulations Congress should demand upon awarding contracts or entering
a long-term plan in restoring housing and infrastructure in a bottomless pit of
a spending spree.
TRANSIT ON A MASSIVE HIGH SPEED SCALE
viewed any portion of the week long evacuation from southeast Florida with the
dire predictions of the impending doom of Irma, you saw vehicles, trucks and
cars in an endless parking lot going north on I-95 and I-75. Many took heed of
Governor Scott and his plea to evacuate, but many ended up in places like Jacksonville,
Naples, Tampa only to learn in short order that Irma had these locales in its
path as well. Who knows how many residents of Miami got back in their vehicles
to head further north.
thousands of residents in Southeast Florida simply could not afford or have the
means to evacuate, thus were forced to shelter in place.
solution is obvious: Mass Transit. The
U.S. lags far behind most competing nations by ignoring our “rail system.”
China, Japan and Europe and have developed far superior “bullet trains” to move
people from place to place on a daily basis. In Japan they are putting in place
a bullet train that will safely deliver passengers at 350 mph.
Imagine if such
a bullet train system was in place in Florida, for example alongside I-75 and
extending as far north as Michigan and a second line mirroring the path of I-95
along the East Coast as far as Boston.
high-speed bullet trains were available in the prelude to the storm. The trains
could carry those disabled, vulnerable and without the means to evacuate
quickly and with order. The need to keep southbound lanes open to gasoline
tankers would have transitioned the move to contrabound lanes of I-95 and I-75
that actually never was deployed as a strategy to evacuate.
Japan's latest train tops out at 350 mph with 750 passengers
The electromagnet trains of Japan must be
in our future for sake of our economy, the environment, climate change as well
as ease of people friendly transportation. High
speed rail is long overdue and must be a top project if we are to rebuild the
nation’s infrastructure (one of the President’s promises).
Congress and the Nation finally capitulates and makes high speed rail mass transit America’s number one goal, it must
be overseen by our most reliable and efficient Army Corps of Engineers. It is
much too important to be left to private industry who will sacrifice safety for
EFFICIENT HOMES AND BUILDINGS ACROSS THE NATION
(25%) of the homes in the Florida Keys have been flat out destroyed with 90%
sustaining substantial damage. Florida Governor Rick Scott will point to the
strong building codes adopted after Hurricane Andrew and adherence to those and
other measures will ensure a safer future. He is only half right.
Scott and Senator Marco Rubio have clung to a palm tree in denial as the
reality of Climate Change has done everything but blow them into the Gulf. Hopefully, the collective destruction will open eyes to truth. The Republican dominated state dares not mention the two words
and speak more of weather patterns and adopting programs and building codes to
adapt man’s environment rather than direct any effort to recognize the true
should enact a National Energy Efficient
Housing Act. As we rebuild devastated homes in Texas and Florida the code
must adhere to a level of energy self-sufficiency. This means in rebuilding
homes and all new construction with solar panels on sturdy roofs and the concrete
building codes previously enacted for Florida. Germany has adopted strict home
building codes that include mandatory
solar panel roofs. There is no excuse for not doing the same.
should extend strict building codes and energy efficiency to other regions we have
identified as highly susceptible to catastrophic tropical storms, hurricanes,
tornadoes, heavy snow or ice storms. In other words, customize urban and rural
planning for unique locations to meet future energy need and anticipate any
other natural disaster.
there is a neighborhood, city, region or island found in near total
destruction, allow visionaries (i.e. Army
Corps of Engineers) the opportunity to employ innovative skills. In other
words, every effort must be made to move power, telephone and broadband lines
underground. Whatever the conduit, lay pipe lines buried offshore to connect
areas such as the Florida Keys, Caribbean islands and rural areas separated by
natural barriers a secure connection to power, cable and “Rocket Fiber”
allowing the space to accommodate the latest technology as it is invented and those yet to see fruition. The restoration of power is an imperative at this very moment to Florida and the Caribbean. Therefore, the genius of Rocket Fiber will not be possible in the emergency restoration of electricity, but demands serious consideration of any rebuild of the nation's infrastructure for the immediate future. And, there is no reason not to incorporate underground power, telecommunications and broadband fiber optics as part of a routine for FEMA.
Nature’s destructive power as demonstrated by Harvey and Irma gives the United States an opportunity to extend Broadband Internet where it was not previously
available. Communication of factual Information is imperative to a
Democratic society as we now have learned with foreign influence upon social
media impacting our last elections. The First Amendment must be afforded every
American while protecting the efficacy of information from foreign intrusion.
U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS MUST BE GIVEN
EQUAL PRIORITY IN REBUILDING
Go to this link for a heartbreaking aerial video view (1:00)
A Glimpse of Irma's devastation to U.S.Virgin Islands (see link to Video of aerial survey)
Puerto Rico, St. Martin’s, St. John’sand other islands of the Caribbean
(British, Netherlands, etc.) have suffered almost total destruction by Irma.
The conditions are such they are almost inhabitable. They must receive expedited
relief now and a comprehensive rebuilding plan on a fast timeline. These
islands are 100% dependent upon the tourist industry for their very survival.
Any plan to rebuild should set a goal to restore as whole within two years. The
U.S. citizens residing and working
there cannot wade through a sea of federal red tape. It’s imperative to put
this population back to work to first rebuild and then resume their traditional
economy. These small islands should be
given the priority they deserve as they also serve as the pilot areas in
testing the overall larger plan.
plan the Congress deploys in rebuilding Houston,
Florida and the Islands of the
Caribbean it must include the local population in planning and employing
them as labor wherever possible. The most egregious failure of the aftermath of
Katrina in New Orleans is that the indigenous
people were dismissed as part of the economic rebuilding. This left the Ninth Ward
in New Orleans in ruins even today. Congress must ensure that no one is left
Senate approves bill doubling hurricane aid package,
extending federal borrowing limit