Health Care Reform could help the environment

As Streetsblog noted, the newly-passed health care reform contains some grant money for nonprofits, Indian Tribes, and state and local governments to promote increased physical exercise and to create “the infrastructure to support active living.” Overall, this provision could provide local governments with extra money they desperately need to create more bicycle and pedestrian-friendly land use planning and projects. Local land use planning is critical to developing the mixed-use, walkable communities that have become highly desirable but almost impossible to build given the red tape and local opposition. With almost forty percent of California’s greenhouse gas emissions coming from driving, these kind of neighborhoods are critical for reducing our carbon footprint. But the real estate downturn has decimated local government planning departments, which depend on developer fees to fund their efforts. Hopefully, state and local governments can take advantage of this new source of revenue from Obamacare. Less driving means more walking and biking, which means less greenhouse gas emissions and citizens in better health.

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