The headline this week is “Stimulus that works.” It gives a well balanced to the options for auto manufacturers and infrastructure. Of course I give trains a fair shot.
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And here is a snip of my wise words. Consider them well.
U.S. Sens. John Kerry and Arlen Specter have proposed a bill to provide tax-exempt bonds to improve rail lines on the East Coast and in the Midwest. There is even a proposed route linking Memphis, Little Rock and Fort Worth. State Rep. Steve Harrelson of Texarkana regularly mentions it on his “Under the Dome” blog.
The remarkable thing about this concept is that it is not the expensive European system one might use to connect big cities, but a more modest operation using existing right-of-way and speeds of around 110 mph. It creates a lot of jobs while the roadbeds are improved and many more when the trains start to roll.
This kind of thing also helps the operating freight railroads by drastically increasing their capacity. The Midwest High Speed Rail Association has been working it for years and has plenty of good research to back it up. Gil Carmichael, a Mississippi Republican and former federal railroad administrator, has another idea for enhancing the national railroad system for a greater volume of faster freight and passenger trains.