Jimmy Carter on Technology

President of the U.S., 1977-1981


Revitalize inner cities with $43B for transportation systems

Q: The decline of our cities has been hastened by the continual rise in crime, strained race relations, the persistence of abnormal poverty in a rich nation. What would you do to reverse this trend?

CARTER: In 1976, everywhere I went the mayors and local officials were in despair about the rapidly deteriorating central cities of our Nation. We initiated a very fine urban renewal program, working with the mayors, the Governors, and other interested officials. This has been a very successful effort. We now are planning to continue the revitalization program with increased commitments of rapid transit, mass transit. Under the windfall profits tax, we expect to spend about $43 billion in the next 10 years to rebuild the transportation systems of our country. We also are pursuing housing programs. We've had a 73% increase in the allotment of Federal funds for improved education. These are the kinds of efforts [we've done] in the central cities that had been deteriorating so rapidly in the past.

Source: The Reagan-Carter Presidential Debate , Oct 28, 1980

Vetoed nuclear breeder reactors but supported research

My first veto came near the end of the session, and it too involved energy. Buried in a $6 billion authorization bill for energy research was $80 million for commencing construction of a nuclear breeder reactor on the Clinch River near Oak Ridge, TN. Because it was enormously expensive and unnecessary and would open up a new and very dangerous plutonium industry in our country, I was determined to prevent construction of this prototype plant. However, the project had a strong life of its own.

This particular veto was not challenged, and Congress later deleted the item from the authorization bill, but by other means the Tennessee congressional delegation and some supporters of the nuclear power industry still managed to sustain a breath of life in the project throughout my term. I was determined that the prototype plant would not be built, but because of our uncertain energy future, I was willing to continue research in all kinds of nuclear technology.

Source: Keeping Faith, by Jimmy Carter, p.101-102 , Dec 15, 1977

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