Trains For America

More choices for better transportation

Obama: Bla bla, energy, cars, bla bla (not rail)

So we keep hearing bad news about the stimulus and its lack of rail provisions. And worse, the Overhead Wire has a good piece about why the Obama administration and the Democratic leadership seem to be squelching attempts to make any progress in the matter. Apparently it has to do with current Obama adviser, former energy secretary, and infrastructure-hater Larry Summers.

Amidst all this, Obama released a new statement on energy today. It actually might come across as nuanced and well-thought out, except for the glaring lack of anything rail or even transit related.

Year after year, decade after decade, we’ve chosen delay over decisive action.  Rigid ideology has overruled sound science.  Special interests have overshadowed common sense.  Rhetoric has not led to the hard work needed to achieve results.  Our leaders raise their voices each time there’s a spike in gas prices, only to grow quiet when the price falls at the pump.

I haven’t seen any definitive proof here that special interests still aren’t overshadowing common sense, but okay. Oh, there’s more.

Finally, we will make it clear to the world that America is ready to lead.  To protect our climate and our collective security, we must call together a truly global coalition.  I’ve made it clear that we will act, but so too must the world.  That’s how we will deny leverage to dictators and dollars to terrorists.  And that’s how we will ensure that nations like China and India are doing their part, just as we are now willing to do ours.

Not sure we need to be patronizing China about climate change when we’re going to be building loads of new highways while they invest billions in high-speed rail (via the NY Times).

I certainly haven’t lost hope in the idea that Obama will be bringing “change” to transportation in this country, but we haven’t seen much delivered yet. Even if the stimulus is all highways and tax cuts, we can still look forward (and keep on working) towards change in the “highway bill” coming up this year.

Filed under: International High Speed Rail, Passenger Rail Politics, , , ,

7 Responses

  1. Norm Wilson says:

    These are disturbing words. Meantime, here in the West, Colorado Rail Car has declared bankruptcy. This facility, in Ft. Lupton, is able to build heavy rail car and has the only US made and DOT approved Diesel Mobile Unit or DMU for heavy rail commuter. They ran the Grand Luxe Tour trains and supplied cars to VIA in Canada. Probably AMTRAK should snatch this from the jaws of bankruptcy. The State of Colorado is apparently mute on this topic despite lots of emphasis in the last several years on light rail.

  2. Paul says:

    I’ve lost hope for the “change” Clearly this was the opportunity for real investment in rail. It is not happening. I am NOT calling/writing my congressman like I did about AMTRAK reauthorization or like I did to oppose the bailouts of the banksters.

    This country is a lost cause when the 2 best supporters of rail will not support rail. Real change is this: raise the gas tax 10 cents a month for the next 16 months- use the 320 billion per year (each penny is 2 billion of rev. annually) to build and operate REAL high speed rail across the entire nation. Require all suppliers to be domestic. This puts people to work both building and operating the system.

  3. Paul says:

    Oh, I forgot the best part. The above plan would excite the populous like building the interstate highway system. There would be pride and excitement in America moving forward. Alas, it was and will always just be a pipe dream.

  4. Chalmer Wayland says:

    Which congressmen and Senators support intercity rail? Does anyone know?

    What about laying the new rail lines down the center of the interstate or on the right of way next to the interstate? It would save time and money.

  5. Bla Bla says:

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