Trains For America

More choices for better transportation

California High Speed Rail – Anaheim ARTIC to Los Angeles Union Station Simulated Ride

Created by NC3D for the California High Speed Rail Authority, this video is a combination of various animated renderings of the proposed high speed rail route from Anaheim’s proposed ARTIC to an ex…

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Filed under: Uncategorized

Maglev v. High Speed Rail

Here’s the main event. Engineering News Record has an entertaining and useful debate on the contrasting capabilities of maglev trains as opposed to high speed rail. Get ready to rumble. kicks the discussion into high gear with two opposing Viewpoints, one supporting Maglev development by John Harding, a member of the International Maglev Board, and the other by Andy Kunz, president, US High Speed Rail Association in favor of ‘conventional’ high-speed rail. Readers are encouraged to read both articles then add their own voices to this debate. Steel wheels or maglev – you decide.

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

Alabama officials comment on Sunset restoration

Mayor Sam Jones seems to be on board with restoring Amtrak service on the Gulf Coast east of New Orleans. It is a little odd, I think, that he backs the “stand alone” train option. The Mobile Press Register carries a story with “Breaking News” status, which seems peculiar.

The headline states: 3 options, none cheap.

Come on, guys! We wanted “free,” not cheap. Highways are free, aren’t they?

Although I was somewhat less than enthusiastic about the prospects of this train, the attitude of lawmakers is rather perplexing. Before Katrina, this train was part of the national system. Now, putting a service back in place is portrayed as some kind of huge favor.

In a statement, Rep. Jo Bonner, R-Mobile, said he plans to review the report with members of the House transportation committee, which also received it. Bonner also wanted to learn more from community leaders about how passenger service would create jobs and other economic development.

“Clearly, given the cost estimates of the three options, a significant public benefit would be necessary in order to justify the cost,” he said.

A spokesman for Sen. Richard Shelby, a Tuscaloosa Republican who sits on a key transportation spending panel, did not reply to requests for comment Thursday and Friday. Richard Finley of Birmingham, who chairs the Southern High-Speed Rail Commission, which promotes regional passenger rail service for Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, also could not be reached for comment.

Earth to Congressman Bonner, earth to Bonner: we just spent how much money bailing out big banks and insurance companies?

I am not as white-hot angry and negative as many on the Amtrak Sunset report, but guys like Bonner ought to pay attention to people who know which end is up. Amtrak does not need a new Sanford station and there are big questions around the proposed improvements in the Sanford maintenance facilities.The expenses suggested by this study require scrutiny and even the report says that some costs are optional.

There are very thorny issues raised by the report, but the Sunset serves an important transportation market. Providing daily reliable service is a whole new deal for the Gulf coast region.

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

WSJ: More on Amtrak Inspector General story

The weekend item in the Wall Street Journal has a couple of interesting tid-bits about the Amtrak office of Inspector General. For example, only $8 million in stimulus funds have been spent so far. Although I am not a blindly obedient follower of Amtrak management, one can well imagine that somebody would complain that Amtrak was unwisely plowing through the case if there were more already spent.

The story is a good background piece and focuses on the recent changes and interim IG Lorraine Green.

Due to the controversy, Ms. Green said she is counting on Gary Glowacki, deputy inspector general for audits, to manage the office’s oversight of how Amtrak spends $1.3 billion in stimulus funds.

In an interview, Mr. Glowacki said Amtrak has spent only $8 million of the stimulus funds. “I’m confident we’re going to be able to provide our oversight responsibilities,” he said.

Ms. Green assumed the watchdog post earlier this year following what Messrs. Towns and Issa described as the “forced retirement” of former inspector general Fred Weiderhold, who had “aggressively investigated and questioned Amtrak’s general counsel’s office for spending tens of millions of dollars on outside law firms.”

Filed under: Amtrak

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August 2009