America 2050 Update: January 28, 2008

In This Issue:
  • Speaker Pelosi evokes national plans in "pre-buttal" to State of the Union.
  • House Resolutions introduced honoring bicentennial and centennial of National Plans.

Dear America 2050 colleagues and friends:

As you know, the goal of America 2050 is to develop a national growth strategy to promote sustainable, prosperous, and inclusive growth in the United States in the 21st century.

Now, for the first time since the project's launch in 2005, national leaders are calling for the federal government to take the lead in developing a national plan for America's future growth.

In her "pre-buttal" to the State of the Union address last Friday, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi evoked the historic national plans of Thomas Jefferson's Secretary of the Treasury, Albert Gallatin in 1808, and Theodore Roosevelt's Conference of Governors in 1908. Which leads us to 2008 ...

A coming recession, falling-down bridges, sub-standard public transportation systems, and global climate change demand a coordinated response on the part of America's government.  An infrastructure plan that provides capacity for growth in America's metropolitan areas and megaregions while making the transition to a low-carbon economy can help provide jobs and fuel growth for decades to come.

As we begin to discuss the next surface transportation bill in the United States we want to stress the following point: national investments in transportation must be guided by a clear vision for the nation's growth in the 21st century. This will be the most effective way to move from a transportation program shaped by "pork" and toward a purpose-driven transportation bill.

Speaker Pelosi evokes National Plans in "Pre-buttal" to the State of the Union Address

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi urged the rebuilding of America's infrastructure in the spirit of America's historic national plans in her "pre-buttal" to President Bush's State of the Union Address last Friday at the National Press Club. She said,

"For our nation, we will chart a New Direction where we renew America's infrastructure and rebuild it in a way that is greener and helps confront the climate crisis.

"Two hundred years ago, in 1808, Thomas Jefferson charged his Treasury Secretary, Albert Gallatin, with drafting a plan to develop America's infrastructure, works like the Erie Canal and the Cumberland Road, to take advantage of a nation that was growing thanks to the Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis and Clark expedition.

"A century later, in 1908, Theodore Roosevelt launched a similar commitment when he convened a White House Conference on Conservation to stress the importance of preserving America's natural beauty.  That led to the creation of the National Park Service and helped a growing America remain a green America.
"In 2008, in keeping with the traditions of these great American leaders, we must keep America growing while making America greener.
"That means reinvesting in our crumbling highways and bridges and renewing our commitment to mass transit, solutions which will create jobs for the middle class.  It also means expanding broadband access across America, and particularly to rural communities.

"Again, in our infrastructure challenge there is job-creating opportunity - to reinvigorate the American economy.

The 1808 and 1908 national plans, as well as the early interstate plan of the National Resources Planning Board in the 1930s, have served as inspirations for the America 2050 initiative since its first conception. The plans are described in historian Robert Fishman's paper, "1808-1908-2008: National Planning for America," commissioned for the America 2050 workshop at the Rockefeller Foundation's Global Urban Summit this past summer.

House Resolutions introduced by Blumenauer honor National Plans
These historic plans are honored in two resolutions introduced by Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) last week in the House of Representatives. The resolutions honor the bicentennial and centennial of the Gallatin Plan and Theodore Roosevelt's Conference of Governors, respectively, resolving that the U.S. House of Representatives:
"supports the creation of a new national plan to align the demands for economic development with the resources of the Nation."
Download H. Res 935 commemorating the 100th anniversary of Theodore Roosevelt's Conference of Governors.
Download H. Res 936 commemorating the 200th anniversary of the Gallatin Plan.

America 2050 Update
Edited by Petra Todorovich

 Director, America 2050
212-253-2727 x322