New EPA Action Helps Colorado Hyperloop

EPA Logo

EPA Logo

The Colorado Hyperloop will benefit from the recent changes by the EPA force State’s to create power from other than high carbon dioxide sources.

According to CPR, Colorado is well positioned for the upcoming changes that President Obama had the EPA create rules to cut carbon pollution. The heart of the matter is this:

“Climate and weather disasters in 2012 cost the American economy more than $100 billion,” the agency says in a document accompanying the proposal.

“We don’t have to choose between a healthy economy and a healthy environment,” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said in a news release about the plan. “Our action will sharpen America’s competitive edge, spur innovation and create jobs.”

– See more at: http://www.cpr.org/news/npr-story/epa-unveils-new-proposal-targeting-greenhouse-gases#sthash.Gj2Xokl6.dpuf

Specifically, for Colorado:

Colorado became the first state with a voter-approved renewable energy standard (PDF) 10 years ago when voters approved Amendment 37 (PDF). The law requires investor-owned electric utilities to provide 30 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2020, with 3 percent coming from distributed generation.

The law has forced energy producers to switch from coal to natural gas and the transition has been relatively smooth.

In 2013, 64 percent of the electricity generated in Colorado came from coal, 20 percent from natural gas and 17 percent from renewable energy resources, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Currently, Colorado has 12 coal plants.

– See more at: http://www.cpr.org/news/story/colorado-well-positioned-pollution-standards#sthash.dqPzowrD.dpu

A more detailed look at Colorado’s energy is below:

Colorado Quick Facts

Last updated March 27, 2014.

Basically Colorado has lots of Coal, but also a lot, and growing, renewables. Luckily, and hopefully, the Colorado Hyperloop will be powered solely by renewables.

Also, there was a OpEd in the NYTimes about taxing gas for maintaining the highway system. It can be found here, but more interestingly were the comments section. Specifically these two:

Mary Ann & Ken Bergman

Ashland, OR7 hours ago

Mr. Schank advocates using general funds to pay for maintaining and improving our transportation system, arguing that a good transportation system benefits us all, whether or not we personally use it. On the other hand, the nation needs to move toward greater energy efficiency and away from high CO2 pollution rates, and taxing gas-guzzling vehicles higher than others should be effective in making people switch to electric and hybrid cars or use public transportation if the gas tax is made high enough. Also, it’s not fair for those who leave a smaller carbon footprint to subsidize those who leave a big one through general fund taxation. The present gas tax serves a useful purpose; it just needs to be increased, with perhaps more flexibility in how it is spent.

One step that really needs to be taken is to get much of our commercial transportation out of large trucks on the road and instead onto rail. Tax the trucks enough to pay to improve the rail lines, which are in deplorable shape in many places. Shipping by trains instead of trucks would reduce CO2 pollution by as much as 90 percent and be cheaper in energy costs as well if rail lines were up to snuff. It would also make our roads, especially interstates, less crowded and safer.

If Mr. Schank thinks that raising the gas tax is a non-starter, he certainly should know that raising general revenue taxes is even more of a non-starter in our current Congress.

And the piece de resistance…

Meredith

 NYC 7 hours ago

Other modern countries use general revenues for transport, and for national health care. These these are crucial services directly affecting their economies and citizens’ lives. Same for their excellent education system, not relying on local property taxes. And not putting their grads in lifetime debt for college. 

Americans say, I don’t have kids in school, or I won’t get pregnant, or I don’t use that bridge–so don’t tax me for it. 

This idea that payment for something should come only from those directly using a service is destructive to our economy and well being. It’s been used to drum up opposition to spending across the board—transport, education, health care taxes, senior benefit programs, etc. Our political polarization and do nothing congress is a cause and result. 

Pres Obama’s recent infrastructure speech made stark foreign comparisons. The US ranks 19th in infrastructure/transport spending among nations. Europe spends 2X what we do, and China 4X. This spending creates jobs.
These facts didn’t get much media coverage. 

Obama said almost half of Americans have no access to transport. That means they can’t get to jobs, or even look for a job, or get to shops. Some may be past working age, or have to rely on others. But they’re stuck and isolated. What a negative ripple effect on the economy. So our lack of infrastructure spending is directly related to our wealth inequality, downward mobility, and weak consumer demand.

 

I-25 Federal Upgrades vs Federal Experiment for Colorado Hyperloop

I-25 map in the United States

 

If I-25 is so busy, why isn’t there other transportation systems in place to relieve the volume?

The Colorado politician that now seek Federal funding for upgrades for I-25 once said that the Federal Department of Transportation isn’t needed.  Should we have confidence in our politicians to think a Colorado Hyperloop a priority?

The latest news on the situation, by Erin Udell of the Coloradoan, notes that communities along Northern I-25 section don’t even want the “upgrades.”

“Those communities worked tirelessly to make I-25 a priority and successfully got additional lane capacity, which they planned for, raised money for, worked hard for,” said Weld County Commissioner Sean Conway. “Now, you have CDOT coming in saying, ‘Well, we need to add lane capacity up to Highway 14, and we’re going to toll it.’ ”

“That’s where the disagreement comes in. We’re saying it’s unfair,” Conway said. “These communities … they deferred projects, they prioritized I-25 and were reaping the benefits of years of planning when CDOT came in and said they want to take existing free lanes that have been bought and paid for by taxpayers, and they want to toll them.”

CDOT does not have the funds,  so the communities along I-25 are planning independently.

The communities involved in the coalition — Windsor, Mead, Berthoud and Johnstown — all line the north I-25 corridor and, according to Conway, must give CDOT their approval before it can move forward with any possible changes. Other communities that line the corridor include Erie, Fort Collins, Loveland, Dacono and Frederick.

“There isn’t a north-south split. It’s quite the contrary,” Conway said. “Fort Collins and Loveland have been very open-minded about discussing how we can deal with this issue.”

“I think, with the collaborative effort that’s been shown, we can come up with some creative solutions – some that are destined for success.”

The Colorado Hyperloop could possibly be a creative solution for the entire state!

The fight’in Greeley Tribune ends this post with their article: Gardner will try to secure federal funding for Interstate 25 improvements

He said he agrees with concerns raised by the North I-25 Coalition at a meeting this week and pledged to initiate discussions in Washington, D.C., regarding including I-25 in the transportation bill.

“At a time when the I-25 corridor has seen its traffic population grow by more than 425 percent over the past 20 years, it is now more important than ever to ensure that northern Colorado has the infrastructure to support our evolving economy,” Gardner said in a news release. “Local officials have estimated that the outdated interstate system has cost the area $56 million, proof that it is far past time to address this issue.”

Says the man who wanted to disband the Department of Transportation.

Will the cost in upgrading I-25 be more than the cost in building a experimental Colorado Hyperloop that follows the same route?

Perhaps we all could look into the future and see a need for a I-25 mirroring Colorado Hyperloop.