A High-Speed Rail Roundup

Today, The Transport Politic
continues its excellent coverage of high-speed rail proposals around
the country with a comprehensive roundup of the projects that will be
vying for federal funds in the months to come. As Yonah Freemark
writes,

3208602890_26a12d5b69.jpgPhoto by reallyboring via Flickr.

The economic stimulus bill included $8 billion for high-speed rail projects. Though Republicans continue to repeat the lie
that the funding has already been earmarked for a maglev project
between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, the truth is that there are a large
number of corridors around the country that are likely to apply for
funds.

The corridors in question, which are
in various stages of planning, cover nearly every region of the
country, from Florida to the Pacific Northwest.

Elsewhere around the network: 1000 Friends of Connecticut discusses the merits of form-based zoning; Say Yes to the Honolulu Rail System uses a 15-hour crash-related freeway closure to point out how rail transit offers commuters better reliability; and Trains for America looks at the possibility of privatization (Virgin Trains, anyone?) in the American rail system.

Check out the network blog feed
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around the country. Right now we’re tracking 238 blogs from 41 states
and the District of Columbia.

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  • I’m surprised about the D.C. to Raleigh system. It sounds like it is almost at the same level of planning as the CA-HSR project, minus the funding. Of course, it will be more like Acela than a true HSR like we want to build here, but that’s still some serious progress! I hadn’t even heard of it before now.

    From the Transport Politic site:
    “Southeast High-Speed Rail – Project, running from Washington, D.C. to Charlotte, via Richmond and Raleigh, is more advanced than most others in this list, with environmental impact statements already completed; strong support from Virginia and North Carolina would mean that 110 mph trains could be running in 4 years with funds (News and Observer).”

    I also like the statement in the NPR article that it would be good if we could concentrate federal funding on a specific project like CA-HSR or the Acela Northeast Corridor. Give people a chance to see that a proper HSR can be successful in the U.S.. Then other states will be clamoring for them, and popular support will go even higher.

  • Oh, and FYI: The Obama Budget plan came out today. Here’s a summary of the transportation section from CNN.com.
    (http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/02/26/budget.departments/)

    Transportation

    • Funding for the Department of Transportation increases by $2 billion in the proposed FY 2010 budget. It climbs from $70.5 billion in FY 2009 to $72.5 billion in FY 2010.

    • The Transportation Department received another $48.1 billion in the stimulus package.

    • The proposed FY 2010 budget includes a five-year $5 billion high-speed rail state grant program.

    This money would come on top of the $8 billion already allocated to high-speed rail in the stimulus package.

    The administration envisions the creation of environmentally-friendly “high-speed rail corridors across the country linking regional population centers.”

    • The proposed FY 2010 budget includes $800 million to upgrade the air traffic control system.

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