Moore on GM’s bankruptcy: An opportunity to transform travel

On his blog today, Michael Moore puts into words something I’ve been thinking for a while: Why not use the collapse of General Motors as a springboard for a major government investment in light rail, high-speed bullet trains and clean-running busses?

It is an idea that seems to make sense in so many ways. And I find it mystifying that more people aren’t talking about it. Moore points out how, at the outset of World War II, our auto plants were converted almost overnight as we became the arsenal of democracy.

“Just as President Roosevelt did after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the president [Obama] must tell the nation that we are at war and we must immediately convert our auto factories to factories that build mass transit vehicles and alternative energy devices. Within months in Flint in 1942, GM halted all car production and immediately used the assembly lines to build planes, tanks and machine guns. The conversion took no time at all. Everyone pitched in. The fascists were defeated.

“We are now in a different kind of war — a war that we have conducted against the ecosystem and has been conducted by our very own corporate leaders. This current war has two fronts. One is headquartered in Detroit. The products built in the factories of GM, Ford and Chrysler are some of the greatest weapons of mass destruction responsible for global warming and the melting of our polar icecaps. The things we call ‘cars’ may have been fun to drive, but they are like a million daggers into the heart of Mother Nature. To continue to build them would only lead to the ruin of our species and much of the planet.”