Trains For America

More choices for better transportation

New York’s slow train to high-speed rail

So, is the perfect really the enemy of the doable? Maybe. New York State has enough population density to suggest that true European style HSR is viable. The real difficulty is a lack of political will. Nobody wants to upset the big campaign contributors in the air and trucking industries.

Albany‘s latest push to bring high-speed rail to New York is a depressing reminder of how far we’ve fallen from our glory days as the Empire State.

Here we are, watching China crisscross its countryside with thousands of miles of state-of-the-art magnetic levitation (maglev) trains that zoom along at 220 mph.

France‘s TGV trains have cruised at 170 mph or better since 1981.

And the best New York aims to do – maybe, someday, with a little luck – is nudge Amtrak service between New York City and Buffalo up to a measly 110 mph for limited stretches.

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

4 Responses

  1. LoboSolo says:

    Why would the trucking industry oppose HSR? True HSR runs on dedicated tracks that usually don’t allow fright trains. HSR moves people, not freight.

    Now I have seen proposals to move freight with maglev.

  2. patlynch says:

    Glad you asked. It is the position of the truckers that any government transportation money spent on anything other than highways has been “diverted.” They do not want drivers to have a choice on inter-city trips so that individuals people will continue to feel “invested” in the highways truckers use and destroy. Truckers are willing to tolerate airlines, but any other forms of ground transportation are treated as competition.

  3. LoboSolo says:

    I know that trucking lobbyists in my state have opposed spending money from the FUEL tax paid by cars and truckers on things other than roads. The Road Fund here usually runs a slight surplus plus some of it is siphoned off for transit.

    I don’t think that it is unreasonable for people who pay a fuel tax to expect that the tax will go to the road fund.

    If a state is going to build tracks or pay for upgrades, then the question is where do the funds come from?

  4. patlynch says:

    The trucking lobby is dead against high speed rail, or any spending on rail, no matter the source.

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November 2010


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