Trains For America

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Texas looks to Spain’s high speed rail development

Clayton M. McCleskey is a Dallas native and free-lance writer. He has an excellent item in the Dallas morning news highlighting, in great detail, the beginning of Spain’s high speed rail program about 17 years ago,. Yes, it has critics who said nobody would ever use a flashy amusement park ride. Of course they were very wrong.

I hate to think that Southwest Airlines is part of the problem,especially since this is one of the world’s great transportation companies and ought to be one of the operators of any Texas HSR lines.

For years, the Madrid-Barcelona route was one of the world’s busiest air corridors. But now after just one year of operation, the passenger split between trains and planes is already 48-52. On the original Madrid-Seville route, the AVE now carries 89 percent of passengers between the two cities.

At the same time Spain launched its project, Texas also approved plans for a high-speed rail network. However, a coalition that included the airlines managed to kill the project.

But with $8 billion in federal stimulus funds designated for high-speed rail, there’s new hope that Texas will be able to get it right this time.

“What we need in Texas is money,” explained Dickey, who said Texas needs $250 million for an investment-grade study in order to lure private investors.

A true European style HSR in Texas would carry people between Dallas and Austin in about one hour. On the s0-called “Texas T-bone” the economic influence would be enormous.

The idea is getting a big push in the state legislature and the federal stimulus money is floating around out there. All that is needed now is leadership and a corporate decision that allows for the good of society over short-term profits.


Filed under: International High Speed Rail, Passenger Rail Politics, Passenger Rail Transportatio Policy, Regional USA Passenger Rail, United States High Speed Rail

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April 2009