Opinion: A new plan for high-speed rail (The following column by Charles H. White Jr. appeared on the Baltimore Sun website on July 6, 2010. Charles H. White Jr. is former head of the Railroad Policy Office in the U.S. Department of Transportation and Professor of Logistics at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y. He lives in Annapolis. His e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.)
BALTIMORE, Md. — The Obama Administration has discovered high speed passenger rail as both a job stimulus and a means for balancing fuel and environmental constraints with increasing personal transportation needs. Various state and regional groups, supported by self-proclaimed high speed rail experts, are competing for federal seed money grants. Winners will be chosen; losers encouraged to try again with the hope of an ever increasing fund supply. The U.S. Secretary of Transportation visits foreign countries to see how high speed passenger rail works. China offers to supply the U.S. with real know-how, experience and equipment, and the transportation secretary is cautiously optimistic that the U.S. railroads might be cooperative in this whole effort.