Monday, May 18, 2009

High-speed rail roadshow comes to town

If you're hot for high-speed rail through the Carolinas, then pay attention Wednesday.

Charlotte will bat lead-off in a national high-speed rail vision road show – a series of workshops in seven U.S. cities put on by the Federal Railroad Administration.

The workshop – the only one to be held for the Southeast Corridor – will be 1-4:30 p.m. at the Renaissance Charlotte Suites Hotel, 2800 Coliseum Centre Dr. (off the Billy Graham Parkway).
If you'll remember, President Obama has offered up $8 billion in grants for high-speed rail corridors, intercity passenger rail and congestion grants under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA, as a pirates would say). Competition is likely to be fierce. Last month I heard Xavier de Sousa Briggs, associate director of the Office of Management and Budget, talk about what would give regions a leg up in competing. He said regions that can demonstrate solid regional cooperation will have an advantage.
N.C. rail insiders suggest it's not coincidence that Charlotte and the Southeast Corridor are first on the schedule. Folks from Atlanta are expected to attend. And let us hope our sister state to the South shows some interest, despite its governor's dislike of stimulus money.
Here's a link that will tell you more, including linking to the letter from FRA administrator Joseph C. Szabo. Szabo's letter says the FRA seeks input "to provide us with your regional visiton of high-speed and intercity rail networks," among other things.
If you want to attend you may RSVP here. And to submit comments for the public docket, click here. It's Docket No. FRA-2009-0045 and the deadline for comments is June 5.

26 comments:

tozmervo said...

Just a minor quibble - that's "2800 Coliseum Centre Dr." "Coliseum Drive" will send you out to Bojangles Coliseum.

Anonymous said...

If you want to attend you may RSVP here. And to submit comments for the public docket, click here. It's Docket No. FRA-2009-0045 and the deadline for comments is June 5

Well, typically for the Observer that link doesn't work.

Mary Newsom said...

Thanks for the note about the link. It should be working now.

And I've corrected the address for the hotel. Serves me right for trusting a press release from the federal government.

One more note: Someone else posts occasional comments as "Mary," which is fine except some people think the opinions of that "Mary" are mine. My comments always include my last name: Mary Newsom.

Anonymous said...

If South Carolina is involved, you can forget it.

Anonymous said...

A BIG WASTE OF TAXPAYER MONEY!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Maybe I'll attend so I can ask Mary out for drinks?

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to see what insight Jumper has on this topic?

Anonymous said...

Grant another word for theft.

Anonymous said...

"A BIG WASTE OF TAXPAYER MONEY!!!!!!!"

Spending money that will go to American companies that will employ American workers while creating a more efficient transportation system sounds like a terrible idea. Why don't we just keep giving billions per year to Iran, Saudia Arabia, and Venezula (our 3 best friends) until our entire country is one giant traffic jam.

Anonymous said...

Those buffoons in Columbia don't want this region to have anything that will require them to ride in the same car with African-Americans and Hispanics.

camfinch said...

Anonymous 8:18, well said! These yahoos who think that trains and light rail, etc. are govt. wastes just have no clue that govt. funded roads are in the same category. They have no vision, no knowledge outside of what Rush Limbuagh and others dictate to them.

Go, high-speed rail! I've actually taken such transportation, and will thoroughly vouch for it.

Choo Choo said...

When Szabo says the FRA seeks input "to provide us with your regional vision (not visiton)of high-speed and intercity rail networks," doesn't he really mean "show us your hindsight"?

We once had outstanding inter-city rail connectivity in this country. Bring it back, and make it cleaner, faster and safer.

Anonymous said...

"They have no vision, no knowledge outside of what Rush Limbuagh and others dictate to them."

I couldn't agree more.

Rush Rah! Rush Rah! Rush eats it raw, raw, raw!

Anonymous said...

A Slate.com writer observed that the estimated bill for 11 high-speed rail corredors in the U.S. comes to around $500 billion. Obama's proposed $13 billion over five years won't get us very far.

Here's a link to the Slate article:

http://www.slate.com/id/2216315/

Anonymous said...

Obama said we can't rely on the Chinese to loan us money any more. So Mary, where is this $8billion coming from?

2whls3spds said...

In my opinion the money would be better spent upgrading the current system to fix the issues with delays and lack of equipment and track right of way, prior to plopping down billions on "high speed" rail. You have to learn to walk before you can run. High speed rail without connecting regular passenger rail would be like driving to Atlanta from Charlotte to fly to Raleigh.

Aaron

barkomomma said...

2whls3spds said: "High speed rail without connecting regular passenger rail would be like driving to Atlanta from Charlotte to fly to Raleigh."

True, but don't you know how we do things around here? Remember, it's usually cheaper to DRIVE to Greensboro to fly BACK to Charlotte and then on to any other destination than it is to START in Charlotte.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:18 How do we pay for this high speed rail. All these dreamers love to talk about rail this and rail that but never ever explain how we are going to pay for this????????These people need to get off the grass.

Anonymous said...

Government is inefficient and waste resources. I'm all for rail if it is done in the private sector.

2whls3spds said...

@Anonymous 5:58

Can we do that with roads too? Auto travel is very heavily subsidized, the US government paid to build the interstate system, using tax payer dollars, why not rail?

@barkomomma

Yup...but I usually start @RDU...LOL

Aaron

Anonymous said...

To Anon at 10:09 pm on May 18:

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost U. S. taxpayers over $858billion. Assuming Obama gets us out of there as promised, finding $500 billion for 11 high-speed rail corridors in the U. S. won't be a problem.

Inquiring Mind said...

http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=10170

Inquring Mind said...

Who is telling the truth? The link above is to the full text of an article by Randal O’Toole of the Cato Institute, titled “ High-Speed Rail Is No Solution”, and which appeared in the May 4, 2009 Cleveland Plain Dealer:

“Americans who have ridden French or Japanese high-speed trains often wonder why such trains won't work here. The problem is, they don't work that well in France or Japan.

France and Japan have each spent roughly (after adjusting for inflation) the same amount of money per capita on high-speed rail as the United States spent on the interstate highway system. Americans use the interstates to travel nearly 4,000 passenger miles and ship more than 2,000 ton-miles of freight per person per year.

By comparison, high-speed rail moves virtually no freight and carries the average resident of Japan less than 400 miles per year, and the average resident of France less than 300 miles per year. It is likely that a few people use them a lot, and most rarely or not at all.
Interstates paid for themselves out of gas taxes, and most Americans use them almost every day. Moderate or high-speed rail would require everyone to subsidize trains that would serve only a small elite. Which symbolizes the America that Obama wants to rebuild better?”

Anonymous said...

TAXATION IS THEFT.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps some of you guys should attend. You don't seem to know what is being planned. In AMERICAN terms, "High Speed Rail" means 110 MPH. Amtrak trains already travel at 79 MPH where track conditions allow. The planned "high speed corridors" will, in fact, be used by both passenger and freight. The project is mostly track upgrades, removal of many grade level crossings, and better protection of those that remain. To go faster than that ALL grade level crossings would have to be eliminated, and hundreds of curves would have to be rerouted (straightened), and the routes would have to be electrified.

California is the only corridor that is planned to be over 200 MPH, and that is a state initiative.

Anonymous said...

The photo that accompanies Mary's current topic looks more like a "moderate" speed train than a high-speed bullet train.

Still, averaging 110 mph between major cities wouldn't be bad. That will be twice as fast as by car or truck when the next energy crisis rolls back the highway speed limit to 55.