Friday, October 22, 2004

De Train Boss. De Train! has an essay calling for the building of a new national passenger train infrastructure to address the continually growing transportation crisis. This is an idea that had also occurred to me when the 9/11 incidents grounded all air traffic, and the economy was in the dump.

I don't usually favor government sponsored projects, but here is one that would address congestion issues, improve the infrastructure, provide a lot of jobs, and would be less vulnerable to terrorists than airliners. After all, where can you go if you hijack a train? If you blow one up, it stops service for a while, and is certainly unfortunate for the passengers involved, but you can't use the train as a bomb to hit other targets.

The government could use the existing Interstate Highway System right of ways, specifically the medians (not the traffic lanes) for elevated railways. Then most of what would be needed in the way of land would be for building stations. When the airlines scream about the competition, let them buy in as investors. Most of the components could be pre-fabricated off site, saving time and money. Development of the trains themselves would boost several sectors of the economy.

Imagine being able to hop on a train in the city center. No long drive to the airport with expensive parking fees. Less need for security screening, so much less processing delay. Then no long drive to town at the other end. No problems with city noise curfews.

""When railroading time comes you can railroad." Maybe it's that time.


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