Rail Across America

rail_across_america.jpg

You’ve
probably seen this already. It’s the latest graphic representation of
the nation’s proposed high-speed rail corridors, and it’s been all over
the transportation blogosphere since President Obama stood beside it at a press conference yesterday.

Those corridors are likely to change somewhat as the administration refines its new strategy for high-speed rail, says Transport Politic blogger Yonah Freemark, who credits the administration for taking serious steps toward a national rail plan.

Perhaps
the biggest positive from yesterday’s presser is that Obama linked the
idea of high-speed rail to local transit, center cities, and car-free
transportation:

Imagine boarding a train in the center of a city. No racing to an
airport and across a terminal, no delays, no sitting on the tarmac, no
lost luggage, no taking off your shoes. (Laughter.) Imagine whisking
through towns at speeds over 100 miles an hour, walking only a few
steps to public transportation, and ending up just blocks from your
destination. Imagine what a great project that would be to rebuild
America.

  • New housing construction is going to be slow for a while now (and it should be). This should be talked about as a way to put all those people to work. Why can’t we use new rail as an indicator of growth as opposed to housing starts?