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Thread: Transportation for America

  1. #1

    Default Transportation for America




    National Transportation Coalition Releases Five Point Plan for Strengthening Our Economy

    Last update: 1:54 p.m. EDT Oct. 15, 2008

    WASHINGTON, Oct 15, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire via COMTEX/ -- At events across the U.S., calls for presidential candidates and Congress to build our way out of economic peril and into the 21st Century
    Today, on the heels of the Wall Street bailout and hours before the final presidential debate, policymakers, community and business leaders, activists and citizens gathered in six cities across the country to call on the next President and Congress to strengthen our economy by building a 21st Century transportation system.

    The events highlighted "Build for America: A Five-Point Plan to Get Our Economy Moving," a bold agenda that has the potential to create millions of good, green jobs, save Americans thousands of dollars per year, and reduce America's dependence on oil once and for all ( http://www.t4america.org/buildforamerica/index.html). "Build for America" was created by the Transportation for America Campaign, a diverse coalition of national and local organizations --- from environmental and climate control to affordable housing and public health --- that have come together in part to promote smart infrastructure investment as a way to sustain economic health.

    "Americans are running on empty, with falling home values, rising gas prices, and a lagging economy," said Shelley Poticha, co-chair of T4 and president and CEO of Reconnecting America. "We're here to say that we can start building a way out of this mess with a wise investment strategy."
    The U.S. already spends $70 billion a year on transportation infrastructure, and many are calling on Congress to do what has been done in every recent recession and invest still more to simulate economic recovery. However, simply using that money to build highway projects conceived in the last century is unlikely to help, Transportation for America warned.
    Build for America calls for investment in public transit, high-speed and intercity rail, neighborhoods that are less car-dependent, more walkable and more affordable, and restoring the thousands of roads and bridges in failing condition across the United States. Specifically, Transportation for America and its supporters are asking the next President and Congress to work together to:

    1. BUILD TO COMPETE with China and Europe, by modernizing and expanding our rail and transit networks to reduce oil dependence and connecting the metro regions that are the engines of the modern economy.

    2. INVEST FOR A CLEAN, GREEN RECOVERY through cleaner vehicles and new fuels as well as the cleanest forms of transportation -- modern public transit, walking and biking -- and for energy-efficient, sustainable development.

    3. FIX WHAT'S BROKEN before building new roads, and restore our crumbling highways, bridges and transit systems.

    4. Stop Wasteful Spending and re-evaluate projects currently in the pipeline to eliminate those with little economic return that could deepen our oil dependence.

    5. SAVE AMERICANS MONEY by providing more travel and housing options that are affordable and efficient, while helping people to avoid high gas costs and traffic congestion. Save taxpayer dollars by asking the private developers who reap real estate rewards from new rail stations and transit lines to contribute toward that service.

    "This is a bold agenda, but tough times call for bold action," said Gene Russianoff, staff attorney for the Straphangers Campaign for NYPIRG and spokesperson for the New York City Build for America event. "By reaching across the aisle to implement better transportation investments in our cities and communities and across our states, we'll help meet the unprecedented demand for quality public transportation choices, to maintain our current system, and to create jobs that put Americans back to work."

    Other cities that hosted "Build for America" events today include Madison, WI, Chicago, Phoenix, Seattle, and San Francisco.

    "Investing in the Build for America plan will pay off for ordinary Americans, our environment and the economy," said Deron Lovaas, Vehicles Campaign director for the Natural Resources Defense Council, a national Transportation for America coalition partner. "This green recovery program will put millions to work in good paying jobs building the infrastructure we need to compete and thrive in the 21st century."

    For more information or to download the complete Build for America booklet, please visit www.BuildforAmerica.org.

    About Transportation for America Campaign
    Transportation for America is a broad coalition of housing, environmental, public health, urban planning, transportation and other organizations focused on creating a 21st Century national transportation program. T4's goal is to build a modernized infrastructure and healthy communities where people can live, work and play by aligning national, state, and local transportation policies with an array of issues like economic opportunity, climate change, energy security, health, housing and community development. http://www.t4america.org/
    SOURCE Transportation for America Campaign

    http://t4america.org/

    Copyright (C) 2008 PR Newswire.




    http://t4america.org/]Transportation for America Website

    Five Point Plan

    We've discussed transportation infrastructure for a long time at WNY. During the Bubble, not many wanted to hear it. Maybe now they'll listen.

    Related WNY threads:

    California - High Speed Trains

    High speed rail coming to LA

    Dinner is served in the dining car

    Mass transit and the future of cities

    High-speed train boom overseas

    Maglev trains: the future?

  2. #2

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    A NEW INFRASTRUCTURE: Innovative
    Transit Solutions for Los Angeles


    Deadline: 03.13.2009

    The passage in November 2008 of Measure R, a half cent sales tax in Los Angeles County, will provide as much as $40 billion for transit-related projects across the City of Los Angeles over the next 30 years. Meanwhile, U.S. president-elect Barack Obama has pledged to make the largest investment since the 1950s in order to rebuild our nation’s crumbling infrastructure. In response to this historic opportunity, the SCIFI (Southern California Institute of Future Initiatives) program at the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) and The Architect’s Newspaper are sponsoring an open ideas competition for architects, engineers, urban planners and students to propose new ideas for LA County’s transit infrastructure. The competition will encourage entrants to develop solutions that dramatically rethink the relationship between transit systems, public space and urban redevelopment. Competitors will be encouraged to work within the parameters of LA County Ballot Measure R. Their entries will focus on specific rail extension projects and also take a look at larger-scale, inter-related transit planning challenges.



    http://www.sciarc.edu/news.php?id=1376

    An Open Ideas Competition
    Sponsored by SCIFI at SCI-Arc and The Architect’s Newspaper


    Entries Due Friday March 13, 2009; Winners Announced March 21,2009.



    Image: Benny Chan/ Fotoworks 2009

    Download Competition Information and Entry Form Here.


    Los Angeles, CA (January 15, 2009) – The passage in November 2008 of Measure R, a half cent sales tax in Los Angeles County, will provide as much as $40 billion for transit-related projects across the City of Los Angeles over the next 30 years. Meanwhile, U.S. President Barack Obama has pledged to make the largest investment since the 1950s to rebuild our nation’s crumbling infrastructure.

    In response to this historic opportunity, the SCIFI (Southern California Institute of Future Initiatives) program at the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) and The Architect’s Newspaper are sponsoring an open ideas competition for architects, engineers, urban planners and students to propose new ideas for LA County’s transit infrastructure.

    The competition will encourage entrants to develop solutions that dramatically rethink the relationship between transit systems, public space and urban redevelopment. Competitors will be encouraged to work within the parameters of LA County Ballot Measure R. Their entries will focus on specific rail extension projects and also take a look at larger-scale, inter-related transit planning challenges.

    The competition jury will include Thom Mayne, Principal and Founder of Morphosis Architects;Professor, UCLA, Aspet Davidian, Director, Project Engineering Facilities, LA Metro, Neil Denari, Professor, UCLA; Principal, Neil M. Denari Architects, Gail Goldberg, Director of Planning, City of Los Angeles, Roland Genick, Urban Designer, Exposition Line, Cecilia V. Estolano, CEO CRA/LA- Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles, and Eric Owen Moss, Director, SCI-Arc; Principal and Founder of Eric Owen Moss Architects as well as transit engineers from Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), developers, and local civic leaders.

    Questions? Forward all questions by January 25, 2009 to: peter_zellner@sciarc.edu
    A FAQ will be published on or before January 31, 2009

    Awards, Jury Discussion and Exhibition Schedule
    Saturday, March 21, 2009, 2–6pm
    Public announcement of winners and jury discussion, 2 pm
    Exhibition opening reception, 4 pm

    Exhibition of selected entries will remain on view at SCI-Arc from March 21 to March 28, 2009. SCI-Arc is open daily, 10am-6pm.

    About SCIFI (Southern California Institute for Future Iniatives) at SCI-Arc Led by Peter Zellner and David Bergman, SCIFI is a post-graduate program under the direction of Hsin Ming Fung and focused on promoting innovation within design, policy, and planning responses to the economic, social and environmental futures of global cities and regions. SCIFI is dedicated to supporting investigations into the impacts of urban and planning policy, transnational financial markets, real estate speculation, and socio-economic globalization on the evolution of local urban fabrics.

    About The Architect’s Newspaper
    Combining timeliness with authority, The Architect's Newspaper is the most comprehensive source of information on the latest projects and commissions, unfolding politics and debate, current events and cultural developments related to architecture, with two editions focusing on the East and West Coasts. Up-front news is rounded out by a mix of topical essays, opinionated columns, project analyses, profiles, interviews, reviews of exhibitions and books, plus a complete calendar of important events and competitions.
    www.archpaper.com

    Institutional Partners
    Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design
    American Institute of Architects - Los Angeles Chapter
    The American Planning Association - Los Angeles Section

  3. #3

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    Editorial

    The road to recovery is transportation


    This week a spanking new South Ferry subway station opened in Lower Manhattan, replacing the creaking undersized relic with its antiquated moving platforms. The old station, built in 1905, was still functioning and did not have to be replaced.

    Fiscal hawks will no doubt read that as more evidence of government waste, but that’s not our point at all. The point is mass transit investments can pay dividends more than a century later and should be funded accordingly. Government should be much bolder, far-sighted and generous when it comes to public transportation.

    Up in Albany, the capitol of one-shot budget gimmicks, Democratic State Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith is looking for short-term solutions to the multi-billion dollar capital and operating budget deficits faced by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. His plan thankfully was rejected by Gov. David Paterson and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, two Democrats who favor bridge tolls, the type of long-range revenue stream that is needed to move in the direction of adequately funding mass transit.

    In Washington, President Obama had to fight to add a little more transportation money to his recovery package, but a forward-thinking Congress would have realized that mass transportation allocations should be funded in chunks of $20 billion. It’s hard to think of a better way to stimulate the economy than mass transit. It leads to short-term construction jobs and long-term economic growth.

    As opposed to targeted tax breaks for specific corporate giants, transportation funding helps everyone from restaurant waiters who can get to work quicker and make more in tips because all of a sudden more high-paid workers are eating in their restaurants, to the C.E.O.’s who can attract more workers.

    We’re glad to see the South Ferry subway and the long-awaited Battery Park City ferry terminal open this week. They are small but important steps for Downtown .

    We did oppose using 9/11 transit funds for the subway project, but that was only because there were better projects to help Lower Manhattan recover from the terrorist attacks eight years ago. We said then that the station was too small and needed more than one exit.

    In this financial crisis and with these budget deficits, it is hard to think big, but we see way too much timidity, particularly in Albany. We know it is not possible now for the state to make large new expenditures, but the bond market won’t be in the tank forever and the mindset Upstate is a much bigger obstacle than the economy. Over a century ago, New York City built what is still the largest subway system in the world. Is there anyone in power now who could get something one tenth that size built today?

    Yes, we’d like to see the full-length Second Ave. subway built someday, but why wasn’t it designed to include express tracks like the subway lines built decades ago? How much would the additional costs per year have been if you stretched it out over 150 years, a reasonable estimate of the length of use time? Would a rail link to J.F.K. Airport and the L.I.R.R. look like a boondoggle a few decades from now? Why isn’t New York’s and the country’s transportation systems among the best in the world?

    It’s not in politicians’ D.N.A. to think much beyond the next election, but we’d all be a lot better off if they thought about what their great grandchildren will say about them in the 22nd century.


    Downtown Express is published by Community Media LLC. | 145 Sixth Avenue, New York, NY 10013 |

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    03/19/2009 03:05 PM

    Railroads may drive economic development

    By: Ilin Chen

    RALEIGH – State and railroad officials gathered Thursday to discuss using the rail system as the engine to drive future economic development in the state.

    There are more than 3,300 miles of rails that cross North Carolina, but the Department of Transportation said less than one percent of state funds are allocated for rail improvements.

    “The North Carolina Railroad Company touches 24 percent of the state’s economy,” N.C. Railroad Company President Scott Saylor said. “It saves customers, industries in our state about $300 million a year in shipping costs. And it’s not just the cost itself. Think about the damage the trucks do to our highways and how the freight railroads can take that pressure off and also eliminate some congestion in the process.”

    The rail industry hopes to capitalize on the interest spurred by the federal government’s stimulus package, which includes $8 billion for rail projects across the country.

    “The important part today is how key those railroads can be in solving those transportation problems and also creating jobs in the state,” Saylor said. “There’s never been a more important time to create jobs.”

    Some state leaders hope the combination of proper planning and funding will lead to development of more light rail systems like the one in Charlotte.

    But they know it will require a lot of work over the next decades.

    “What should we by trying to do, and why?” Former N.C. Commerce Secretary Jim Fain said. “And of course, it’s all rooted in promoting the economic well-being and, really, the quality of life for North Carolinians.”

    The North Carolina Railroad Company is also planning to conduct a study about possible commuter rail ridership from Goldsboro to Greensboro. A previous study indicated commuter trains between major regions would be possible with the proper amount of infrastructure investment.


    Copyright © 2008 TWEAN Newschannel of Raleigh, L.L.C

  5. #5

    Wink Good post

    Good post! I plan to move into this stuff after I’m done with school, as most of it is time consuming. It’s a great post to reference back to. My blog needs more time to gain in popularity anyway.

  6. #6

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    Stop This Train!
    Are trains slower now than they were in the 1920s?

    By Tom Vanderbilt
    Posted Friday, May 15, 2009, at 12:22 PM ET



    Illustration by Rob Donnelly.

    Quick: Can you think of a technology that has regressed since the early 20th century?

    Technological progress is usually considered a given. Think of the titters when you see Michael Douglas in Wall Street walking on the beach with a bricklike mobile phone. Then, it was thrilling, almost illicit—Gekko can call Bud Fox from the beach. Now, the average 12-year-old has a far superior phone: smaller, camera-equipped, location-aware, filled with games and a library of music, and so on. We've seen vast improvements in just a few decades, which means the gulf between now and, say, the 1920s seems almost unimaginable.

    There is at least one technology in America, however, that is worse now than it was in the early 20th century: the train.

    I have recently been poring over a number of prewar train timetables—not surprisingly, available on eBay. They are fascinating, filled with evocations of that fabled "golden era" of train travel. "You travel with friends on The Milwaukee Road," reads an ad in one, showing an avuncular conductor genially conversing with a jaunty, smartly dressed couple, the man on the verge of lighting a pipe. The brochure for the Montreal Limited, from an era when "de luxe" was still two words, assures travelers that "modern air-conditioning scientifically controls temperature, humidity and purity of air at all seasons."

    But the most striking aspect of these antiquated documents is found in the tiny agate columns of arrivals and destinations. It is here that one sees the wheels of progress actually running backward. The aforementioned Montreal Limited, for example, circa 1942, would pull out of New York's Grand Central Station at 11:15 p.m., arriving at Montreal's (now defunct) Windsor Station at 8:25 a.m., a little more than nine hours later. To make that journey today, from New York's Penn Station on the Adirondack, requires a nearly 12-hour ride. The trip from Chicago to Minneapolis via the Olympian Hiawatha in the 1950s took about four and a half hours; today, via Amtrak's Empire Builder, the journey is more than eight hours. Going from Brattleboro, Vt., to New York City on the Boston and Maine Railroad's Washingtonian took less than five hours in 1938; today, Amtrak's Vermonter (the only option) takes six hours—if it's on time, which it isn't, nearly 75 percent of the time.

    "I don't want to see the fastest train in the world built halfway around the world in Shanghai," President Obama said recently, announcing an $8 billion program for high-speed rail. "I want to see it built right here in the United States of America." There is something undeniably invigorating about envisioning an American version of Spain's AVE, which whisks passengers from Madrid to Barcelona (roughly the distance from Boston to Washington) in two and a half hours at 220 mph and has been thieving market share from the country's airlines.

    But Obama's bold vision obscures a simple fact: 220 mph would be phenomenal, but we would also do well to simply get trains back up to the speeds they traveled at during the Harding administration. Consider, for example, the Burlington Zephyr, described by the Saturday Evening Post as "a prodigious, silvery, three-jointed worm, with one stalk eye, a hoofish nose, no visible means of locomotion, seeming either to be speeding on its belly or to be propelled by its own roar," which barreled from Chicago to Denver in 1934 in a little more than 13 hours. (It would take more than 18 today.) An article later that year, by which time the Zephyr had put on the "harness of a regular railroad schedule," quoted a conductor complaining the train was "loafing" along at only 85 mph. But it was not uncommon for the Zephyr or other trains to hit speeds of more than 100 mph in the 1930s. Today's "high-speed" Acela service on Amtrak has an average speed of 87 mph and a rarely hit peak speed of 150 mph. (The engine itself could top 200 mph.)

    What happened? I put the question to James McCommons, author of the forthcoming book Waiting on a Train: The Embattled Future of Passenger Rail Service. As with most historical declines, there is no single culprit but rather a complex set of conditions. One reason is rail capacity. From the Civil War to World War I, the number of rail miles exploded from 35,000 to 216,000, hitting a zenith of 260,000 in 1930 and falling by 2000 to less than 100,000—the same level as in 1881. Capacity dropped because demand dropped—people moved to cars, and freight moved to trucks. Despite a World War II train boom fueled by troop movements and fuel rationing, trains have been on the decline since the late 1920s; as a 1971 New York Times article on the debut of Amtrak noted, "railroads asserted that, as an industry, they did not make a profit on passengers after [the] 1930s. They blamed buses, planes and autos and expensive union contracts that increased wage costs after 1919."

    Less rail capacity (and rail quality) has coincided with a dramatic rise in freight traffic in recent years, owing in part to a buoyant economy and in part to trains' improving (and now superior) fuel efficiency to trucks—particularly as diesel fuel prices have risen. Despite recent infrastructure spending, bottlenecks are routine, as passenger trains typically yield to passing freight trains. (The recent economic downturn has cut freight traffic, leading to some chatter on rail Web sites about improved Amtrak performance times; one commenter noted, "#422 was running early the whole way ... so much so we sometimes had to sit and 'kill time' shy of reaching stations [so] as not to block main roads through towns.") Sharing rails with freight has a negative effect on passenger speeds for another reason: The rail systems are designed for slower freight trains. Except for the high-speed Acela in the Northeast (and a lone stretch in Michigan), Amtrak is limited to a top speed of 79 mph because to go above that would require all kinds of upgrades to signals, gates, crossings, and ties, among other things. (This Amtrak investigation of a 13-hour delay earlier this year catalogs the typical problems.) What's more, trains themselves can't run faster than 79 mph without "Positive Train Control," a sensor-based safety system that will be mandatory on all trains by 2015.

    Hovering over all of these causal factors is a widespread societal shift that occurred, one that saw the streamliners of the 1930s eclipsed by the glamour of the jet age, as well as the postwar automobile boom and the building of the Interstate Highway System. Passenger trains lost their priority to freight, and there simply wasn't the same cultural imperative for speed and luxury on the trains (a condition rather unintentionally satirized in the schlock 1979 TV series Supertrain—the conveyance in question was atom-powered—whose magnate decried "the pitiful state of rail passenger travel in this country today"). Where the Twentieth Century Limited had once touted its trains as having a "barber, fresh and salt water baths, valet, ladies' maid, manicurist, stock and market reports, telephone at terminal [and] stenographer," Amtrak is now scrambling to simply equip itself with Wi-Fi—a technology already available on the bare-bones Bolt bus.

    As it turns out, there are actually plenty of examples of "technological regress" throughout history. As this fascinating paper notes, the process of building with cement had reached a high point during the Roman Empire, only to be "lost" until its reinvention in the early 13th century. The United States has lost not so much the technology of rail speed as the public will, the cultural memory; this may have made sense for a historical period, but now, weighed in terms of the congestion, carbon emissions, and comfort of other travel modes, it seems time to reach for the way-back machine. As journalist Philip Longman has pointed out, where "fast mail trains" once "ensured next-day delivery on a letter mailed with a standard two-cent stamp in New York to points as far west as Chicago," today, "that same letter is likely to travel by air first to FedEx's Memphis hub, then be unloaded, sorted, and reloaded onto another plane, a process that demands far greater expenditures of money, carbon, fuel, and, in many instances, time than the one used eighty years ago." In building our "bridge to the 21st Century" we might remember the Roman god Janus, patron of, among other things, bridges: He looked backward as well as forward.


    Tom Vanderbilt is author of Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do. He is contributing editor to Artforum, Print, and I.D.; contributing writer to Design Observer; and has written for many publications, including Wired, the Wilson Quarterly, the New York Times Magazine, and the London Review of Books. He blogs at howwedrive.com and lives in Brooklyn, N.Y.

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    I would love to see these:










    Queston: Why can't we build these in America? If Japan has the Shinkasen, why can't we have it here?

  8. #8

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    US PIRG report

    http://www.uspirg.org/home/reports/r...em-for-america

    The Right Track: Building a 21st Century High-Speed Rail System for America



    Figure ES-1. Proposed Passenger Rail Improvements, United States

    2010-02-09

    Executive Summary

    America’s highways and airports are increasingly congested. Our nation’s transportation system remains dependent on oil. And our existing transportation infrastructure is inadequate to the demands of the 21st century.

    Intercity passenger rail can help America address each of these challenges. Most major industrialized countries have (or are now building) well-functioning intercity rail systems. High-speed trains traveling from 125 mph to 200 mph or more have long served residents of Europe and Japan, and China is currently in the midst of building a $293 billion, 10,000-mile high-speed rail system.

    Now, for the first time, the federal government has invested significant resources toward the development of high-speed rail in the United States, with an $8 billion allocation in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and $2.5 billion more in Congress’ fiscal year 2010 budget.

    States across the country are hungry for improved passenger rail. Indeed, states have requested seven times more money for passenger rail improvements than was allocated under ARRA. And that figure does not include many other important and worthwhile projects that were not requested because they were further away from being “shovel-ready.”

    State requests for passenger rail funding under ARRA – coupled with the broader agenda for high-speed rail development articulated by the Obama administration – present a powerful vision for the future of transportation in America, touching virtually every region of the country.

    Passenger rail can help address America’s toughest transportation challenges.

    • Passenger rail curbs congestion on highways and in airports, saving travelers time, money and aggravation. The Center for Clean Air Policy and the Center for Neighborhood Technology estimate that completion of a national high-speed rail network would reduce car travel by 29 million trips and air travel by nearly 500,000 flights annually. That is more flights than depart each year from Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, the nation’s busiest.

    • Passenger rail reduces our dependence on oil. On average, an Amtrak passenger uses 23 percent less energy per mile than an airplane passenger, 40 percent less than a car passenger, and 57 percent less than a passenger in an SUV or pickup truck. Newer locomotives are becoming far more efficient, and switching rail lines from diesel to electric power can curb America’s oil dependence even further.

    • Passenger rail will boost America’s economy. The task of building out the nation’s high-speed passenger rail network is estimated to create up to 1.6 million construction jobs, and can provide a needed shot in the arm for America’s struggling manufacturing sector. Economic growth is also spurred by making travel easier between cities, fostering regional business connections and encouraging exchanges of information in the emerging “knowledge economy.” Investments in passenger rail can moreover reduce the need for costly investments in highways and airport capacity.

    • Passenger rail can provide convenient, efficient travel, where riders can work, relax, enjoy greater legroom, and travel directly from downtown to downtown, even in inclement weather – avoiding the need to drive to outlying airports, wait in long security lines, or jostle for parking in congested center cities.

    • Passenger rail protects the environment. The Center for Clean Air Policy and the Center for Neighborhood Technology estimate that a national high-speed rail network would reduce global warming pollution by 6 billion pounds, the equivalent of taking almost 500,000 cars off the road.

    Investments in passenger rail can benefit virtually every region of the United States. State requests for funding under ARRA would begin to deliver many of those benefits.

    • In the Northeast, proposed investments would extend the region’s already successful rail network to new locations, such as Scranton, Brunswick, Maine, and the cities of Massachusetts’ South Coast. Planned investments would also speed up trips on New York state’s important Empire Corridor from Buffalo to Albany, and Pennsylvania’s east-west Keystone Corridor from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia, providing important links in a regional high-speed rail network and serving as an effective alternative to flying or driving along those routes.

    • The Southeast would benefit from extending successful near-high-speed service along Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor further south, to Virginia and North Carolina. North Carolina also plans to improve and expand rail service between Charlotte and Raleigh – reducing congestion in one of the fastest-growing regions of the country. Finally, the Southeast’s plan for high-speed rail would restore Atlanta to its historic status as a passenger rail hub, linking the city with rail lines running northwest to Nashville, northeast to Charlotte and Washington, D.C., west to Birmingham and southeast to Savannah and Jacksonville.

    • Florida is seeking to build the first truly high-speed rail system in the United States, with an initial network linking Tampa, Orlando and Miami. Trains traveling at 165 mph or more would bypass traffic on the state’s congested highways and link together many of the state’s biggest attractions. Florida is also seeking to restore rail service along its East Coast, providing new service to important coastal destinations.

    • The Gulf Coast states are pursuing the restoration of passenger rail service east of New Orleans that was disrupted after Hurricane Katrina. Over the long term, the states are looking to build a modern passenger rail network with links between New Orleans and Baton Rouge to the north, Houston to the west, Birmingham to the northeast, and the Florida Panhandle to the east.

    • The proposed Texas “T-Bone” high-speed rail network would serve as a core for improved passenger rail service throughout the South Central region. The “T-Bone” network – running from Dallas to San Antonio and east to Houston – would serve fast-growing metropolitan areas with more than 15 million residents. Additional connections would include high-speed service between Texas, Oklahoma City and Tulsa, and an eventual high-speed rail connection with Little Rock.

    • The rapidly growing Southwest trails other regions in planning for high-speed rail, but has several potential corridors for new service, including potential lines serving Denver, Colorado’s Front Range, Phoenix, Tucson and Las Vegas.

    • The Midwest already has extensive rail lines, which states are seeking to modernize, creating a regional network of efficient passenger rail routes with Chicago as the hub. St. Louis, Kansas City, Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee, Madison and Minneapolis-St. Paul would all enjoy convenient connections with Chicago – and each other – with a revitalized regional rail system. Building the system is estimated to create over 152,000 person-years of work and 57,000 permanent jobs.

    • In the Pacific Northwest, ridership on Amtrak’s Cascades line between Eugene, Portland, Seattle and Vancouver, B.C., has increased eight-fold over the past 15 years. Further improvements to the line will reduce travel time and add round trips, attracting more than 3 million passengers a year and relieving congestion on crowded Interstate 5.

    • California’s high-speed rail system, one of the most comprehensive and modern networks planned in the United States, will be a big step forward in addressing the state’s problems with traffic and air pollution. The network will provide the efficient travel between California’s major cities that the state’s large population and economy require, with multiple trains per hour stopping in all of the state’s largest cities and traveling at top speeds over 200 mph.

    Recent investments in passenger rail have already paid off in higher ridership.

    • Over the last decade, Amtrak ridership has increased by 26 percent, with an additional 5.6 million passengers per year riding intercity rail. Despite the economic downturn, Amtrak served a record number of riders in the last three months of 2009. Ridership on regional commuter rail lines has increased as well.

    • The creation of near-high-speed service between Boston and Washington, D.C., has resulted in rail capturing nearly half of the air/rail travel market in the Northeast Corridor.

    • Initiation of 110-mph service along the Keystone Corridor between Harrisburg and Philadelphia has contributed to a tripling of ridership on that line over the last decade.

    • Faster service along the Chicago to Detroit corridor has led to a 24 percent increase in ridership over the past five years, despite the region’s severe economic downturn.

    • Similarly, increases in frequency of service along the Chicago to St. Louis line contributed to a doubling of ridership over a five-year span.

    • Americans are hungry for access to more and better rail service. A 2009 survey found that if the cost and travel time were equal, 54 percent of Americans would prefer to travel to cities in their region by high-speed rail, with only 33 percent preferring car travel and 13 preferring air travel. Of Americans who had actually ridden high-speed rail, an overwhelming 82 percent preferred it to air travel.

    The United States should build an efficient and fast passenger rail network, with high-speed rail as a central component, to help address the nation’s transportation challenges in the 21st century. Eleven key steps toward achieving that goal are as follows:

    • Investing the necessary resources – America must reverse the half-century-long trend of underinvestment in passenger rail by creating a reliable funding source and channeling the necessary resources toward making passenger rail a convenient choice for more travelers and building the high-speed rail networks that will be necessary to meet the nation’s travel needs in the decades to come.

    • Maximizing “bang for the buck” by investing in lines with the greatest ridership potential and using incremental, short-term improvements in passenger rail to help lay the groundwork for eventual faster high-speed service.

    • Balancing private investment with public safeguards – Harnessing private investment can help to deliver high-speed rail improvements, but the public must retain control over key infrastructure and decision-making, and any private deals should be undertaken only with full transparency and accountability. Wherever possible, new rail lines should be built on publicly owned right of way. Public investments in privately owned tracks should be tied to agreements to secure greater priority for passenger trains.

    • Investing to achieve full benefits by refusing to cut corners in new rail investments, particularly with regard to investments that can improve energy security, environmental performance, and safety.

    • Building stations in the right places, where passengers have access to a variety of transportation options for completing their trip and where passenger rail can provide a catalyst for transit-oriented development.

    • Assuring transparency in all aspects of the decision-making process over passenger rail, including the expenditure of funds and contracting.

    • Managing for performance by collecting and publicizing data on ridership, energy consumption, safety and other aspects of rail service, and setting concrete goals for the achievement of specific targets in each of these areas.

    • Encouraging domestic manufacturing to supply the equipment needed for the build-out of the nation’s passenger rail system and make America a leader in an emerging global technology.

    • Setting standards for high-speed rail equipment so that the nation can benefit from economies of scale.

    • Encouraging cooperation among states, and between states and the federal government, in the development of high-speed rail.

    • Measuring progress against a vision. The nation should set an ambitious goal for the development of the nation’s rail system. We call for linking all major cities within 100 to 500 miles of one another with true high-speed rail by mid-century. Whatever the goal, it should be set and progress measured against its attainment

    Full report (PDF)

  9. #9

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    I'd rather they just put mandates on future vehicals that they need to have strict emmisons requirements, and invest money into algae fuels for cars and airplanes, along with building nuclear power plants. People live too spread out in America for rail to be viable. Just make cars cleaner are more efficient like they do in many European nations. New rail lines would work best in between urban areas, like the northeast corridor.

  10. #10
    Forum Veteran MidtownGuy's Avatar
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    ^No you need to do all of those things. Car emissions controlled AND high speed rail. And if you look at the map, you see the rail lines are planned to go between major urban areas.

    Look at China, spending 293 billion on a high speed rail network. 8 billion is very pitiful compared to what is needed.

  11. #11
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    MTG, is that American $$s?

    Either way is pretty pitiful then!


    Seriously though? Commuter or Buisness rail is where this will work the best. Everywhere else would need high-speed rails that would have auto transport as well.

    Imagine driving up to the train station, loading your car, and zipping down to Florida at 200mph! Then when you GET there, you do not have any problems with rental cars or anythnig else, you unload the car and drive directly to yout motel/relatives house, etc.

    Do some quick math and just based on the fuel savings for that trip.

    1300 miles and 20 hours reduced to 8 hours (total) and saving, even for a DECENT family vehicle, (20 mpg highway) 65 gallons of gas, half an oil change, and wear on the vehicle (1% of the vehicular life):

    65 Gallons x $2.50 a gallon = $162.5
    Oil Change = $50
    $40K Suv = $400 in wear (1%)

    Total = $612.5

    If you start pricing to come in about that or a little higher, and make it convenient (less time to check in/out) you will get people to use it.

    Just imagine how many people would like to have THEIR OWN CAR at a vacation destination rather than whatever they need to rent.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Bob's Avatar
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    What's up with these recent posts about vehicle emissions? That problem has been solved. Cars built in the last 20 years emit practically nothing.

  13. #13

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    ^
    Where did you hear that?

  14. #14

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    Time was, carbon dioxide wasn't counted as a pollutant. Maybe some group still abides by that primordial standard.

  15. #15
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    When the American Family did not have 1 car for every driver emmisions were less of a problem.

    Also, look how close we ares starting to pack people, even in the Burbs! Look at the row houses and condo developments! the density itself is not staggering, but just that the "suburban filtyers" surounding the big cities are moving further out and getting smaller and smaller. Less trees per capita, more capita, more cars per capita = more pollution than the environment can buffer and process.

    If we all can start walking, use less vehicles, or just become partially concious of what we are doing maybe a little conservation by all will do far more to help than enviro-nazi-ism by a few.

    IOW, drive less and recycle you numbnut!

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