Friday, January 29, 2010

High Speed Rail

This is where my partisanship combines with my blind homerism and my love for infrastructure projects. High Speed Rail?

Another. Reason. I. Voted. Obama.

Change I can catch a ride on, and be in Birmingham or Atlanta in a few short hours? Sign me the hell up for this.

And, looking at that map, it wouldn't take too much to connect NOLA to JAX, either.


(HT: American Zombie)



patsbrother said...

Alright, fine, I'll ask.

What's "homerism" mean?

DADvocate said...

Nothing like 19th century technology to build a bridge to the 21st century.

Ohio for instance, you will be able to go from Cincinnati to Columbus for $18 dollars. In every trip I've taken to Columbus, once there was only 2 of us in the car, every other time more. Two would cost $36. I can drive to Cincinnati in my gas guzzling, very comfortable Tundra Quad cab for about $10-$15 dollars depending on gas prices. (At today's prices, $10)

When I get there I have a vehicle to drive around town already with me. No car rental, no taxis, or depending on someone else to drive me around. Plus, I leave and return from the trip completely according to my schedule or whim. (I inhale deeply here.)

PLUS, the trip is quicker. I don't drive to the station, go through the boarding process (Which may be as security intensive as boarding and airplane. There's been plenty of terrorist attacks at train stations in Europe.) I don't drive thru Dayton because it's not on the route from Cincinnati to Columbus, but the train must go there because that's where the tracks will go. This means a stop in Dayton to further slow me down. What is an 90 minute trip in a car will probably take 3 hours by high speed train.

Trying to protect the hundreds or thousands of miles of tracks and trestles from terrorist attacks will make airport security look simple.

This idea is typical of this administration's high sounding but half-baked poorly thought out approach to nearly everything.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

@ Sprout:

"Homerism" is usually associated with sportswriters who feign objectivity but write with a slant towards their favorite teams.

In this case, I'm talking about policy and cities, not sports, and not even feigning objectivity. High speed rail is on my Christmas list.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

@ DADvocate: Until we get flying cars, I'm willing to negotiate a little. Especially if it translates into effective regional transportation without further depending (or subsidizing) airlines.

It may not be economical to get from Cincinnati to Columbus by train, but if I can get from NOLA to Atlanta and back in less than 22 hours at around $200 (round trip), it will be worth it.

Dante said...

PB, to see homerism at its finest, watch Lou Holtz's segments on ESPN GameDay with the forethought that he used to coach at Notre Dame and South Carolina.

The biggest problem I see with this rail proposal is that most of the proposed routes are already covered (or at least covered close enough) by Amtrak. For example, you can get from New Orleans to Atlanta already on Amtrak. It costs a lot and takes longer than it should but that problem would be better served by looking at Amtrak's issues rather than building all new rails. New infrastructure is nice but it would be a far better use of money to improve the infrastructure we already have. Trains go everywhere. Why doesn't Amtrak? For rail to really be taken seriously as a form of travel, we need broad East-West and North-South lines. I don't understand how we had them 150 years ago but do not now.

And why don't these proposed lines connect with each other? Why is there no way on this super rail to get from Georgia to the mid-west or Ohio? If we're dumping this kind of federal cash on the rails to begin with, why not at least connect them nationally?

DADvocate said...

Pat - I agree, it seems, superficially at least, the further the distance the more sense the cost of the trip will make. I like the idea of trains but the implementation I worry about. Too many stops can ruin the efficiency of a train, as can many other pitfalls. All of western Europe fits in the eastern half of the U.S. Japan is about the size of California. What works for them won't necessarily work for us.