High-Speed Rail Drives Obama’s Transportation Agenda
This article in Sunday’s Washington Post caught my eye mainly for the attached graphic
Yes you spotted it straight away too – up there in the top right hand corner. But Montreal could get a link to – to Boston, but Toronto (centre of the known universe) has been omitted. And NYC is notable by its omission too, but that may be because it has “Acela” which is nearest Amtrak gets to High Speed at present.
Of course ours is the exact same route that is still trying to get a second, slow speed, daily passenger train.And equally predictably this is also one of those programs that the Republicans have decided to label “wasteful spending”. Of course shovelling trillions of dollars to banks who then paid it to their executives as bonuses was not “wasteful spending”. Nor were all the boondoggles that private sector contractors ran throughout Bush II’s Iraq adventure. Indeed, in the transportation business, it is common practice to speak about “investment in infrastructure” when talking about roads but “wasteful subsidies” when talking about rail or transit. (Because road spending benefits more corporate clients.)
What would make a lot of sense would be switching money into this program from federal support for air travel. Which is one of the worst culprits in terms of tons of CO2 released per passenger mile, and also one of the hardest to make more fuel efficient or switch to non-fossil fuel sources. For most of the city pairs illustrated here even conventional trains will be quicker and more convenient than dealing with the delays and hassles of overloaded air traffic control and mostly pointless “security” checks.
But one of the biggest issues is finding a way to do all of this while keeping the train operation separate from the existing railway corporations who are adamantly opposed to passenger trains – becuase they make so much more from running freight.