Reconnecting America People * Places * Possibility

Economic Conversion To Next Generation Of Transportation

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In 1953, Charles Wilson, General Motor's president, became President Eisenhower's secretary of defense. It was a time when "What's good for General Motors is good for the country." So perhaps it is unsurprising that it was the Eisenhower administration that launched the Interstate Highway System.

Today, looking at what happened to Detroit offers an amazing look into how the automobile, the infrastructure that was built to facillitate it and the ways that infrastructure allowed people to move about -- all set in motion the Detroit of today and America.

PBS's Blueprint America project took on Detroit yesterday and the hour and 26 minute program is a tour-de-force explaination of why today you might take Charles Wilson's words and restate them as "What's good for Detroit is good for the country."

As the program points out, a major infrastructure project is required today to rebuild and reconnect America. Expensive? Of course. But how can we not afford it?

The recent efforts by the Obama administration to encourage high-speed rail is as important turning point. The work in Congress to gather support for a new federal transportation bill that could fundamentally change the way Americans get around still another.

Jeff Wood's Tracks newsletter today has links to several discussions of this PBS program.

A Newshour condensed version is available here.

The New York Times review of the program here.

And a discussion of why a single light rail line won't save Detroit here.