Trains For America

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How federal policy favors roads over transit

Here’s some more Stalinist propaganda for my fellow comrades.

Although the story on is slightly off-topic for TFA, the analysis wonderfully explains the prejudice among politicians and bureaucrats in favor of highway and trucking special interests. These are major campaign contributors who routinely subvert the will and best interests of the American people by their obscene financial clout with lawmakers.

It is lengthy but important.


Filed under: Passenger Rail Transportatio Policy

Midwest High Speed Rail gets boost from Biden

It’s not new news, but the endorsement of Vice-President Joe Biden is nonetheless important in the development of transportation policy. The Chicago Tribune was, of course, right on top of the story.

he full 3,000-mile Midwest corridor system stretching over nine states would cost $9.6 billion to construct over 10 years, according to the latest estimate.

But “for $3.4 billion, you can get a big chunk of this plan done,” Biden said in a conference call with reporters.

Because President Obama is from Chicago, as is his chief-of-staff Rahm Emmanuel, are from Chicago, there may be a thought that politics played too much a role in favoring the Midwest proposal. Here are some thoughts.

  • MWHSRA has been working ont his concept for years. You can visit the web site (right hand column) and look at the studies and serious economic considerations put under study.
  • The nine state area covers a significant population base with many suitable cities at appropriately close distances.
  • Chicago is already the nation’s foremost rail hub for freight and Amtrak.
  • Culturally, people in this region have a greater familiarity and consciousness of rail travel.
  • This area is bound to increase in population, and much of it is likely to be in more moderate sized cities which would be connected to larger cities.
  • The price is right. At just over $9 billion, one must wonder why we are not already building it.

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

Sen. Hutchison and state legislature back Texas high speed rail

United States Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison has a longstanding reputation as a supporter of sensibler transportation policy, so her endorsement of the Texas T-bone is not exactly a surprise. Nonetheless, in light of the BNSF CEO’s suggestion that there was no Washington movement in favor of HSR in Texas, this is important.

Or, if the idea is already DOA, there is no political risk in getting behind it. For the professional political analyst, the glass is always half-empty.

The story comes from the Temple Daily Telegram.

During a press conference at the Easterwood Airport in College Station, Hutchison said she thinks this vision will help stop the congestion in urban areas of Texas. She said she hopes some of the $8 billion in federal stimulus money set aside this year for high-speed rail projects could be used for the Texas route.

Meanwhile, San Antonio Business has a complete report on legislative happenings that deal with passenger rail, especially the Austin San Antonio corridor.

By allocating the additional $8.7 million, though, the Legislature clearly is signaling to TxDOT that the San Antonio-Austin passenger rail project is the top priority.

TxDOT already is studying several route alternatives to relocate Union Pacific Corp.‘s tracks between San Antonio and Austin. The preliminary cost estimate is $1.7 billion, said Milloy, who as corridor director also provides staff support to the Austin-San Antonio Intermunicipal Commuter Rail District.The $182 million rail relocation fund can be multiplied many times if it can be transformed into a bond program. The state must find a way to convince the capital markets that the Legislature will continue to add funding in future sessions, Milloy explained, so that land can be purchased and tracks laid.

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

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June 2009