The focus -- and jubilation -- of environmentalists has been on the election of Barack Obama as the next president, given that his campaign platform was a fair measure greener than is opponent, John McCain.
But across the nation, several states and communities approved ballot measures that will lead to significant environmental initiatives.
Here's a look:
Across the country, 89 localities approved measures to boost local open space preservation. In all, those communities will spend $8.4 billion on those new conservation programs, according to the Trust for Public Land.
Innovative Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Financing
In Boulder Colorado, voters followed the lead of Berkeley, Calif., and passed a $40 million bond program that will allow homeowners and businesses to tap into low-cost financing to improve energy efficiency of buildings, or install renewable energy generators. Berkeley's $80 million program, the first in the nation, is just getting underway. Participants in the program pay off investments through increased property taxes over 20 years, much like a mortgage.
Renewable Energy Mandate
In Missouri, citizens voted to require electric utilities to generate at least 15% of their energy from renewable sources by 2021. Such renewable energy portfolio mandates are in place in 28 other states, and the District of Columbia. Obama has suggested a federal mandate might be part of his energy policy.
Across the nation, 70% of public transportation projects on the ballot passed, in Arkansas, Colorado, Utah, Kansas, Michigan, Rhode Island, New Mexico, Ohio and elsewhere. Three highlights:
Voters in California approved a $10 billion down payment on a new 432-mile high-speed (220 mph) rail system that would connect San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco and points in between. The aim is to make traveling between the cities not only faster by public transit than by car, but cheaper.
Voters in Washington agreed to add $17.9 billion in regional express bus and commuter rail services to the Puget Sound area.
And voters in Hawaii gave a nod to a $3.7 billion 20-mile elevated commuter rail line in Honolulu.
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