Trains For America

More choices for better transportation

Houston-Galveston study approved

This comes from the Daily News of Galveston, Texas and if you can find the story in the paper, you are smarter than Pat Lynch. Anyway, Congress has approved $2 million for the study. NOTE: a reader with more time and patience provides a good link.

It is part of the Fiscal Year 2010 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill.

The rail line would carry 11,500 passengers a day, reduce 51.7 million vehicle miles traveled, reduce 509 tons of pollution annually, save 425,000 gallons of fuel per year, greatly enhance access to employment and allow for more than $1 billon in new, private investment along the corridor, according to [Sen Kay Baiely] Hutchison’s office.

It’s 51 miles, and apparently considered a transit project. Back in the day, before being discontinued about 1966, it was on the ATSF schedule as a direct connection with the Texas Chief.

I would cheerfully predict that this line would carry many more than 11,000 passengers a day. The implications for real estate development are tremendous. It should be a no-brainer.


Filed under: Passenger Rail Transportatio Policy

UPDATED: California High-Speed Trains: Anaheim, CA ARTIC

Yesterday, TFA was unable to post images of the proposed Anaheim transportatin hub, but now we have video of the updated version of the Anaheim ARTIC Station in Anaheim, CA. FURTHERMORE: It’s not really an “update,” for a follow up.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “UPDATED: California High-Speed Trains…“, posted with vodpod

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

Progressive Railroading to launch high speed rail site

This high speed rail thing must be more than a passing fad. Progressive Railroading announces the launch of a new internet venue.

Next month, Progressive Railroading plans to launch, a new Web site devoted to high-speed rail.

To go live on Sept. 8, the site will feature a state-by-state listing of near- and long-term HSR plans, projects and proposals, including any work the states have completed to date, as well as rail department contact information for each state DOT.

Filed under: United States High Speed Rail

More discord over Amtrak Inspector General office

I said this was a dicey situation. Again, we refer back to the sudden departure of Amtrak President Alex Kummant last year.

For immediate release: Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Chairman Towns, Ranking Member Issa Call for Replacement of Amtrak’s ‘Interim’ IG
Lawmakers Question Amtrak’s Motives and Legal Basis for Appointing Temporary IGWASHINGTON. D.C. – House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Edolphus Towns (D-NY) and Ranking Member Darrell Issa (R-CA) today in a letter to Amtrak Chairman Thomas C. Carper called for the immediate replacement of Amtrak “Interim” Inspector General Lorraine Green – a 12-year member of Amtrak management who intends to return to her former position when a new IG is appointed.

“We believe that the selection of a senior member of Amtrak management as Interim Inspector General undermines the statutory independence of the Office of Inspector General,” wrote the two oversight leaders. “Ms. Green’s actions during the time she has been serving as Interim Inspector General raise questions about her actual independence.”

The letter follows the June 18, 2009, forced retirement of former Amtrak Inspector General Fred E. Weiderhold, Jr. who had aggressively investigated and questioned the Amtrak General Counsel’s office for spending tens of millions of dollars on outside law firms. A bipartisan investigation by the committee has revealed longstanding and serious conflicts between Amtrak management and the Inspector General and major disputes about the role of the Inspector General within Amtrak.

“The independence of Amtrak’s Inspector General is critical to effectively weed out waste and fraud, especially now with increased stimulus spending at Amtrak,” said Chairman Towns. “By installing one of their own as Inspector General, it looks like Amtrak management is trying to take the teeth out of the watchdog.”
“Amtrak has flagrantly disregarded the rules and expectations set forth by Congress to protect the independence of Inspectors General,” said Rep. Issa. “The brazen appointment of an ‘Interim’ IG confirms the existence of a problem within management that must be investigated.”

Chairman Towns and Ranking Member Issa note the interim Inspector General has quickly taken actions that may erode the institutional independence of the Amtrak IG office in demanding a response by July 31.

Filed under: Amtrak, Passenger Rail Politics

Milwaukee legislators push for Talgo site

The Spanish train manufacturer has not picked a site yet for its operation to build new trains for Wisconsin service, but the Chicago Tribune reports that Milwaukee lawmakers have some strong ideas where the site should be located.

UPDATE: The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel offers more information.

Filed under: Amtrak, Passenger Rail Politics, Regional USA Passenger Rail

Oklahoma City Union Station and regional rail update

Tom Elmore, Executive Director of the North American Transportation Institute in Moore, Oklahoma, sent an update  to an earlier post that demands to be moved to the front page.

Even as it professes interest in the Obama HSR initiative, ODOT continues to press the destruction of the OKC Union Station rail yard at 300 SW 7th to make way for a four-mile relocation of I-40.

On June 9, BNSF destroyed the Union Station yard segment of the beautiful former Frisco line to Will Rogers Airport.

Meanwhile, the state’s largest newspaper, THE OKLAHOMAN, long a lazy floater on the once boundless river of automobile advertising revenues, regularly runs derisive editorials against rail passenger services of any kind, taking an even nastier tone against the relentless citizen effort to save the Union Station rail yard. Even as its editors furiously rant, the Gaylord family mouthpiece inescapably appears down-at-the-head, visibly shipping water as it has now been forced to “share resources” with longtime state competitor THE TULSA WORLD.

The same ODOT leadership that carefully stunted the HEARTLAND FLYER,s route at OKC, denying the original plan to make it Amtrak’s Mail and Express showpiece between Kansas City and Ft. Worth is plainly still working behind the scenes to make the least possible of any new rail development opportunity if it can’t ignore such prospects altogether.

Filed under: Amtrak, Passenger Rail Transportatio Policy, Regional USA Passenger Rail

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July 2009