EDITORIAL: What Will We Make the Future Into? or How Many Highway Lanes Do We Truly Need?


Train stations can look very futuristic (Photo by Khursandchik Yuldashov on Pexels.com)

Recently, I was reading through some old newspapers and noticed something that got me thinking about our future, both here in Middle Georgia and on Earth.

I noticed multiple ads in a paper called The Talbotton Standard that made me think about how our current present could have been if different decisions had been made.

The ads showed the schedules for passenger trains running between cities like Macon and Savannah. 

An Ad on the front page of The Talbotton Standard's July 25, 1872 edition

I began to think about how Americans were led to believe that everyone having their own individual vehicle was desirable. And how passenger trains, especially in Middle Georgia, slowly became a thing of the past as we focused more and more on building huge highways that were needed because there was no viable public transit outside of larger cities.

The highways cut cities and neighborhoods apart and brought pollution, noise, and led to many horrible crashes and long traffic delays that have wasted countless hours of our lives.

The future of transportation in Middle Georgia could be radically different than just more and more roads, more and more traffic, and more pollution, crashes, and stressful commutes.

The current administration has invested more money in passenger rail in Georgia, which will hopefully translate into us one day having the option to take a train instead of gassing up and driving the many miles it takes to get to iconic cities like Savannah.

Smaller cities might also see more visitors if passenger trains start to make their stops there once again in the future.

I am hopeful that we might collectively decide that we want a future that isn't full of endless highways that take up more and more land so that more and more vehicles can clog their lanes. 

Looking back at the past and seeing what those who lived there once had that we don't now, and seeing how having those things could improve our lives and our environment now, is one way to plan for a future that serves current and future generations better.

Another ad for passenger trains on the front page of The Talbotton Standard

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