Trains For America

More choices for better transportation

Steiner book forecasts $20 a gallon gasoline, and what it means

Somebody pass this along to those Troglodytes unfortunate misinformed but well-intentioned people we discussed below who oppose HSR in Alberta Province.

TIME carries a discussion of Christopher Steimer’s $20 Per Gallon: How the Inevitable Rise in the Price of Gasoline Will Change Our Lives for the Better.

Are there examples in other countries of large-scale projects that Americans might learn from?
I think what the Chinese are doing on many of their rail lines — vast upgrades to electrified high-speed passenger rail — is something we should emulate. Spain has revolutionized travel across their country by linking most major metropolises through a sparkling new high-speed rail network. The U.S. has nothing like it. But high gas prices will change that.

Get ready for the demise of Wal Mart, an increase in American manufacturing, and families living closer together. That sounds like a middle-class utopia. What a mess!

The transportation implications are discussed at length. One would think that sanity would prevail in public policy, but since when would that matter?

Filed under: Passenger Rail Politics

Calgary-Edmonton link blasted

Memo to self: Don’t ever pick a fight with Andrew Coyne.

Coyne has unleashed a tremendous walloping on HSR supporters. I presume his objection is rational and specific to the Edmonton Calgary corridor and not against all high speed rail. Since he also goes off on the much more populous Quebec City-Windsor corridor, it’s hard to know for sure.

For one of such absolute certitude, Mr. Coyne certainly throws around a lot of numbers and a lot of derisive words. There may be something to his argument, but his extravagant use of hyperbole makes us wonder and note:

  • bonedoggle
  • insane
  • farce
  • impervious to reality
  • dreamers

Let’s see. It’s 179 miles between Edmonton and Calgary. The Edmonton metropolitan area has a population of just over 1 million. Calgary is a little bigger at 1.6 million. Coyen cites the proposed costs of construction.

The Alberta report, for example, put the cost of linking Calgary and Edmonton—at 300 km, barely a quarter the journey from Quebec City to Windsor—at anywhere from $3 billion, for a humble 125-miles-per-hour diesel upgrade, to $20 billion, for the 300 mph, magnetic levitation special.

$3 billion seems awfully high for what we now call “high performance rail.” Perhaps this includes buying land, but that just doesn’t fit. I do not believe that part of Alberta is especially mountainous, but I could be wrong. If there are tunnels, that brings the price up.

The absolute desperation of the argument put forward against the rail proposals tells me there is something else at work  It’s a good read if you really need to be brought down a peg or two.

Filed under: International High Speed Rail, Passenger Rail Transportatio Policy

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July 2009