Trains For America

More choices for better transportation

ABC News reports on high speed rail

This report on the expansion of high speed rail around the world almost got past me.

Conspicuously absent among those emerging markets: the US. Of course, news of the achievement sparked yet another round of well-worn rants, often delivered by globe-trotters who return home after rides on slick Japanese or French trains wondering, “Where the hell is my high-speed rail?” It’s a question that betrays a certain naiveté about transit policy — but it’s still a good one. If the country has a prayer of solving its traffic woes and creating a more efficient, environmentally sound infrastructure, we’ll need some first-rate, wicked-fast trains.

Food for thought.

There are potential true high speed corridors in the United States. Very expensive to build, but highly popular. Ops, that may be bad news for airlines, but maybe not.

Conventional corridor trains, like Amtrak’s Washington-New York Acela service, make more sense on many routes.

Can we trust Amtrak wth a lot more money? Even though the new president of the rail passenger corporation is President Bush’s hand-picked man, maybe not.

Amtrak needs strong well-educated management and a stable source of funding. So long as it’s a yearly battle to keep going, there will be no progress. This is the president’s fault.

No better source than Arkansas Republican congressman John Boozman has personally told me that highway capacity is maxed out in many areas. Improving ground transportation is too important for the usual giberish from the usual opponents.

Filed under: Passenger Rail Transportatio Policy

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July 2007


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