Wednesday, February 09, 2011

High Speed Rail Won't Fix The Infrastructure!

I love trains. Really. As a youngster I rode them with my family from Pittsburgh to Chicago and on to Fort Madison, Iowa to visit family. Often. My love for the rails has never waned. I've sat for hours on the back deck of the General Palmer in Durango watching the trains come and go to Silverton. On occasion I'd head for the tracks to get pictures, dodging fiery coals and belching steam. There is no better way to travel in Europe. At least there wasn't when we did so.

The fixation on high speed rail by this administration is a whole different scenario. The $53 billion they want to allocate sure could be spent better elsewhere. Like on our disintegrating highways and bridges. Infrastructure that is already in place and in sad need of attention.

As for the trains, look at the proposed routes. You'll note they are all in places of high congestion and short hops. The cross country routes, where one might like to speed up the process, are left untouched.

The process of condemning property, then clearing it for dedicated tracks will be time consuming and costly. There will be resistance.

Some of the routes make no sense either. Take the stretch between Orlando and Tampa. By road it is approximately 85 miles. A train that travels between 125 and 250 mph wouldn't get out of idle! Besides, by the time you got to the station, parked your car, checked your luggage if any and passed through security, you know they'll have it, you might as well have driven. Not unlike flying. You'd have your car at your destination and be there before the train even left the station!

The same goes for the Los Angeles/Las Vegas hook up. I notice it's not on this map. Hmmm.  Have they nixed the one that almost makes sense?  Anyway, depending on where you live in the greater LA area, it might take you longer to get to the station than Vegas itself. That one would no doubt have riders, but whether or not enough to make it pay is questionable.

All the talk about jobs and economic recovery makes no sense to me. The jobs are needed now. The economy needs to recover now. Not decades down the road.

One of the biggest problems I have with this administration is their grand pie in the sky notions that are questionable undertakings in the first place and not doable in this time of immediate needs.

The argument that it will be the best alternative to flying and driving because it won't be as costly doesn't mesh with the fact they're touting electric powered locomotives. Last I heard, electricity is power and unless we go nuclear, it isn't going to be cheap.

Look at your electric bill.  Does it give you a clue?

1 comment:

Word Tosser said...

Years ago, I had this vision of having two tracks across the USA.. one from New York to Portland. The other from Atlanta to Reno. These tracks would be fashion for us to drive our cars up on to the track and an automatic loop would come across your azle.. front and back. There would be only one stop mid country. You would drive on, and then once on the other side.. you drive off. You could bring food in your car. When you got off the tracks then you could drive up and down the coast of your choice. And when ready to come home, you did it in reverse.. Only problem I came up with this plan was no bathrooms. bummer...