Friday, March 6, 2009

Spending Billions to Save MEGA-Billions

It sure looks like the Obama Administration is serious about more and better and faster trains. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood met recently with several members of Congress from upstate New York and was apparently very encouraging when asked about a high-speed rail link between Albany and Buffalo.

Amtrak trains are now making that 300-mile trip is five hours, but high speed rail service would cut that time in half.

There are many other cities where high-speed trains would make a lot of sense, too. Chicago is at the top of that list, with potential links to a number of major cities within a 300 to 400 mile radius -- Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Saint Louis, Detroit, Cleveland, Indianapolis, and Columbus, for example.

And there are other corridors all over the rest of the country, too … in Texas and Georgia and Florida and California and the Pacific Northwest.

These trains, which are powered by electricity, would replace literally millions of auto trips and all those carbon emissions.

But there’s more … a lot more. Most people don’t realize that one-third of all commercial airline flights in the US are to destinations 350 miles away or less. And, even with intermediate stops, that’s a three-hour trip on a high-speed train.

Imagine if we could reduce air traffic congestion in this country by, let’s say, 20 percent. Think how much safer flying would be. Think of the fuel (and foreign oil) that would save. Think of the pollution that would eliminate. Think of the additional runways and whole new airports that wouldn’t have to be built. And of all the tax dollars that would save!

Oh, yeah …and think of all the jobs those rail links would create.


2 comments:

Mike said...

Jim, I'm particularly pleased - selfishly, yes - by the FRA high speed corridor that would run from Newport News, VA to Richmond and on up to DC. There are a lot of us in the Hampton Roads area that would greatly benefit from that in terms of speedy access to Greater DC.

To say nothing of avoiding I-95 north of Fredericksburg, VA. Dante should have driven that before writing the Divine Comedy.

JIM LOOMIS said...

Let's hope a lot of these projects are started ... at least for the planning phase. I understand there are ways to divert money allocated to highway into rail projects. I know NARP will be banging away on that.