Trains For America

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Mica on High-Speed Rail

Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Republican Leader John L. Mica (R-FL) statement on the need for billions of dollars in pending high-speed rail investments in the United States to be wisely spent.He argues that the original $8 billion should be spent on true (European-style) HSR projects reaching speeds of over 150 mph. He foresees three such projects and makes a compelling case for the northeast corridor. It is hard to argue with that logic.TFA presumes that the other two demonstration projects will be Illinois and California. Florida has only demonstrated the ability to build political deceptions.One would presume that California and Illinois would be the other two test sites. But there we go again, using reason and logic on a political matter. All of this has implications for Amtrak long distance service, which is the perpetual red headed stepchild. One area where Mica could use some help is the concept of “high performance rail.” Funds used on HPR are not necessarily misspent, even if not properly included in the HSR demo allocations. Many medium sized cities can logically be connected by HPR, which is much cheaper to put in place.

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5 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    At this point all know that a true HSR system is California and the only one that can actully start service in the next 10 years.
    I agree with him..the word high speed rail is being applied to way to many projects that are just upgrades and not the real hard choice that is needed to get true HSR,its not that there not worth it but its not TGVs and thats whats in peoples heads when the hear HSR is on the way near them. The midwest and others need to upgrade these projects to 180-200mph.if not there not true HSR and should be funded but out of another fund thats for nationwide rail upgrades..

  2. aw says:

    Was he comparing top speed on the TGV with average speed on Acela? Also, is it so hard to say 300 km/h?

    Yes, we need some compelling HSR demonstration projects. But we also need improved lower speed intercity service to better serve the HSR corridors.

  3. A penny spent on HSR, mark my words, will be a penny robbed from long distance service. even though there may be two seperate appropriations involved. I am not opposed to HSR, but I am opposed to continued starvation of what we have. There are at least 10 routes that ought to be restored, and all existing routes should have at least two trains per day. After that, we can build good cases for HSR. Remember that Europe and Japan also have thousands of miles of slow speed routes that connect with, or supplement, their HSR service.

    Mica is the main reason we no longer have a transcontiental service and it has become painfully obvious in the last few days that AMtrak has no intention of restoring service of any kind east of NewOrleans. Since it is such a political animal that appeasing Mica is more important than serving the people who still request tickets for points no longer served, then it is time to privatize Amtrak. Veolia, Keolia, any of you folks interested in a pilot project between Orlando (Mouseland) and NewOrleans (Big Easy).

  4. Allan says:

    I agree with Jerry. Let’s build national network … a viable matrix of interconnecting lines. Let’s upgrade the lines to handle HPR (High Performance Rail).

    Amtrak has already bungled the NEC once, why do we want to pour good money after bad before we get the rest of the nation up and running … or at least most of it.

  5. HockeyFan says:

    I rode the Acela this weekend from Washington to NY. A few thoughts while on board…
    1. The Acela trainset, while by no means perfect, is a fine train. The speed achieved is very deceptive. We passed cars on I-95 with ease and the approach to Penn Station was over in a blink.
    2. There was a lot of trackwork going on and this was a Sun afternoon. Those defective concrete ties are being changed out.
    3. A few spots need track realignment for higher speeds. Baltimore, Philly and some yards. There is still room for restoration 3rd and 4th tracks for flexibility and speed.
    4. The urban decay is remarkable in many cities. HSR won’t bring back to life a city like Detroit.
    5. Let’s not forget the NEC when discussing HSR funds. Even if trains don’t hit 200 mph on this line, 150 mph between closely spaced Eastern cities is fine.

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October 2009


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