It’s been called the most far-reaching proposal ever to be presented to Congress: On Thursday, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) unveiled the Green New Deal proposal calling for, among other things, health care for all, an energy-efficiency upgrade to every building in America and an extensive high-speed rail network, making “air travel obsolete”.
Right now, the U.S. is operating on exactly the opposite model. The number of miles that Americans are covering in airplanes has risen sharply since 1960, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Even bus travel has picked up in recent years when more companies entered the U.S. market. Even though the total number of miles travelled by Americans has increased, miles travelled on the train have remained almost stagnant, likely because of high prices and too few connections on the Amtrak network.
The road is still the major way for Americans to get around. In 2016, the latest year on record, cars, trucks and motorcycles clocked up 4.2 trillion passenger miles (miles travelled per one passenger). The number has been consistently high since the 1990s, but no comparable long-term figures exist.
Major Democratic presidential candidates for the 2020 election, namely Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, got behind the Green Deal proposal. The resolution is non-binding and would be just a first step towards the drafting of actual laws for the Green New Deal.