Trains For America

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FAA steps into 21st. Century

This may be a sign of the Apocalypse. It may also be a clever ploy, but let’s not be paranoid. This is a good idea and appears to be a recognition that gridlock is coming to the nation’s airlines.

OK. I know chaos and congestions reigns at airline terminals, but it is nice to see that somebody up the food chain sees how things are in the real world. It it needs to be said, TFA recognizes and appreciates the essential contribution of airlines in a sensible national transportation system.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports on a major new study to be conducted on ways to deal with rapidly increasing passenger levels.

To that end, the FAA has given a $585,000 grant to the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, a Bay Area regional government agency, to study ways to avoid airport gridlock. Without reconfiguring Bay Area airports and integrating them more thoroughly into the regional and national transportation system, years of travel pain await, the agency said.

“We expect the number of air passengers to ramp up dramatically in the future,” said Kirk Shaffer, the FAA’s associate administrator for airports.

He projected that by 2025, San Francisco International’s passenger traffic will grow 57 to 60 percent, Oakland International’s 80 percent and San Jose International’s 100 percent.

Given the extent of the challenge, “all options are on the table,” Shaffer said at a press conference at SFO on Friday. Those options include basing many small, private aircraft at smaller, regional airfields instead of at major airports, improving and expanding the Bay Area’s three major airports, and even running high-speed rail service between the Bay Area and Los Angeles.

“This is the first time the FAA has provided funding for study of nonaviation modes of transportation,” Shaffer said.

And here’s a completely “outside the box” idea. Why should airlines be excluded from operating high speed trains into their own terminals? Europe is getting ready for more public-private partnerships in high speed rail, and even competition with low fare carriers. It’s a brave new world. Why not let Southwest Airlines get involved? That might make the Dallas based carried to reconsider its’ objections to any HSR in the Lone Star State.


Filed under: United States High Speed Rail

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