UPDATE: Be sure to read Dr. Bill Pollard’s remarks in the “comments.” Although he takes a somewhat, and much more positive approach, I have the highest possible respect for his opinions, especially concerning the so-called I-49 corridor.
This is a colossal rip-off, and I support high speed rail and am a resident of Arkansas. Again, the only people who benefit are the consultants and bureaucrats. First the news.
The State of Arkansas will study the possibility of high-speed trains traveling up to 200 mph between Memphis and Little Rock and Texarkana, reports the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
State transportation officials anticipate spending $1 million to $1.25 million in federal and state funds to conduct two long-range railroad transportation plans in the next 18 to 24 months, the newspaper reported Friday.
One study will look at issues surrounding freight rail transport and existing passenger rail service. The other will examine how Arkansas might participate in a national initiative on high-speed passenger rail.
Now a modest proposal. I have made this before, but here goes anyway.
There is not enough population to be served on a Little Rock to Memphis route, especially if we are talking true 200 mph European-style HSR. Multi-billions would be spent. My idea is as follows:
- Conventional speed trains and right-of-way. (110-125 mph)
- Build from Memphis International Airport to Little Rock National Airport.
- Use existing UP right-of-way. Add dedicated fast track.
- Add service to Searcy and Cabot (not every run).
- Continue from Little Rock National Airport to DFW.
- Use existing UP and add a dedicated fast track.
- Serves Arkadelphia, Texarkana, Longview.
This more modestly priced plan connects 3 air hubs and numerous smaller communities. Price is relatively high but in the same “ball park” as highway construction. Airlines might want to participate as is done in Europe. lMuch less cost that European-style HSR. So there.