Monday, February 15, 2010

How Do I Love Thee, Train? Let Me Count the Ways.

It’s a sad fact that transportation infrastructure in this country has not kept pace with the population. Catching up will take money, and a lot of it, but the real question is, where will the money go?

If the decision-makers get it right, a lot – maybe even the lion’s share – will go to Amtrak and to America's high-speed rail initiatives.

Time is money, right? More rail options for commuters, will reduce the time drivers spend on the road going to work. More high-speed trains running between major cities up to 400 miles apart will dramatically reduce the number of flights, not to mention the time you might now be spending waiting in long lines to take off.

We’ll import less crude oil. Figured on a per passenger basis, an Amtrak train uses almost 25 percent less fuel than a jet plane and half as much as someone in a full-size car.

Jobs, jobs, jobs. The knee-jerk opponents to rail moan about the cost of building a high-speed rail system. But the best estimates say that more than a million and a half jobs will be created in the manufacturing sector … and that’s where they’re needed the most.

Comfort and convenience. Big, wide seats, legroom, decent food available, and you can get on and off a train smack in the heart of major cities instead of finding yourself at an airport and a $50 cab ride from where you want to be.
For more of this, and in greater detail, check out the research available at U.S. PIRG, the Public Interest Research Groups.


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JIM LOOMIS said...

Let me think a millesecond ... uh ... no.