Trains For America

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Oklahoma outrage

This reader response from out in Oklahoma to the item on Ohio’s crackpot governor had to be moved to the front page. Enjoy.

Kasich fits the “asphalt cult” profile to a “tee,” like his brethren in Oklahoma — Inhofe, Coburn, Cole, former governor Frank Keating and his “asphalt Czar” Neal McCaleb. Having already hung their grandchildren with $40 billion in “unfunded highway maintenance requirement,” they quite deliberately relocated a downtown OKC segment of I-40 eight blocks off its historic path, making certain to reroute it right through the historic 8-block-long, 12-track-wide OKC Union Station rail yard, strategic center of the state’s rather unique publicly-owned 866-mile rail network. Project price (3.96 miles of road) has now strangely jumped far beyond the “$236 million” estimate to something well past $800 million (not counting the replacement cost of the passenger-rail yard). Oh — and the local MPO has spent around $400K “studying” a new rail humb for the metro. Trouble is — none of this could have been done without the aggressive cooperation of BNSF Railway Company, which, in its newfound


“post-deregulation monopoly status” has apparently become part of the “asphalt cult,” as well. Ahhh, there’s nothing like a “cult.”


(Notable, as well, that current “state transportation Czar Gary Ridley,” the “P.E. without a dee-gree,” as some of us call him, was brought back to ODOT prior to the departure of Keating Czar Neal McCaleb (for the shortest-and-strangest-in-history-tenure as Bureau of Indian Affairs Director under GW Bush) — from a five-year stint as Executive Director of the Oklahoma Asphalt Paving Association. Ridley has now been preemptively reconfirmed for another term by asphalt-cult puppet and governor-elect Mary Fallin Christensen…)


Filed under: Passenger Rail Politics, Passenger Rail Transportatio Policy

First high-speed rail tracks to reach Bakersfield


The first section of California’s high-speed rail line will link Fresno with Bakersfield, rail officials announced late last week.

Officials at the California High-Speed Rail Authority have confirmed that an additional $624 million announced Thursday from the U.S. Department of Transportation will allow the initial segment to go from Corcoran to Bakersfield.

The first $4.15 billion segment was originally announced to run from just south of Madera through Fresno and end just north of Corcoran. Critics panned the announcement as a “train to nowhere.” High-speed rail officials said it will be the nucleus for rail lines that will eventually take bullet trains from San Francisco and Sacramento to San Diego on an 800-mile-long system.

The federal government required that the additional funds announced Thursday extend the line to Bakersfield, the authority said in a press release Friday. The additional money was made available after Republican governors in Ohio and Wisconsin rejected $1.2 billion in high-speed rail grants intended for those states.


First high-speed rail tracks to reach Bakersfield.

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

Amtrak’s Cardinal Could See Daily Service Restored – State Journal –

Or it could be abolished by the new Republican congress.

Amtrak’s Cardinal Could See Daily Service Restored – State Journal –

Filed under: Amtrak

From the Editor: Beware of the train cult in Ohio (and elsewhere) – RailwayAge Magazine

Here is a great opinion piece from Railway Age. Sadly, I perfectly captures the situation of sensible transportation proponents. Put simply, if you favor anything but more highways and airports, you’re a buffoon.

Kasich, who for whatever reason is not fond of passenger trains, and who is always quick with a quip, said proponents of passenger rail service in Ohio are part of a “train cult.” This proclamation came during a press conference announcing Jolene’s replacement at ODOT: Jerry Wray, who is actually returning to his former post.

According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Wray retired as ODOT Director in 1999. What has he been doing for the past 11 years? He’s been vice president of Flexible Pavements of Ohio, an asphalt industry lobbying association. No wonder Kasich—who wants to take the federal government’s $400 million grant for the 3C corridor and build more roads with it—appointed him.

Beam me up, Scotty. There’s no intelligent life down here. And while you’re at it, get me a case of antacid. I think I’m going to be sick.


From the Editor: Beware of the train cult in Ohio (and elsewhere) – RailwayAge Magazine.

Filed under: Passenger Rail Politics, Passenger Rail Transportatio Policy

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December 2010