High-speed rail. Let's make it happen.

By Bill Bradbury of Bandon, Oregon. Bill is the former Secretary of State of Oregon.

It is time for the Northwest to get serious about high-speed rail. This is an idea whose time has come. The President’s designation of the Eugene to Vancouver BC corridor as one of the ten priority corridors for high-speed rail creates an opportunity and a challenge for implementing high-speed rail in the Northwest.

The benefits of high speed go beyond the convenience for passengers, reduction of gridlock and the decrease in green house gas emissions. High-speed rail is a potential economic stimulus program that would create thousands of jobs in its development and help diversify Oregon’s economy.

With some upgrades and improvements, Amtrak’s Cascade Corridor service already has the potential to reach 110 mph. This would shorten the trip to Seattle significantly and make commuter trips to Salem and Eugene possible.

But Oregon and the Northwest must compete with other regions for these high-speed funds, and we are falling behind. In California, a well-funded and organized High-Speed Rail Authority is already lobbying for federal dollars. The Northeast Corridor already has trains running at 150 MPH and therefore would be eligible for federal funds.

We are far behind these other regions and need to make up ground. That is why I am calling on the Governors of Oregon and Washington to create a Northwest Regional High Speed Rail Authority. This Authority would be made up of state and local leaders in both government and from the private sector. It will be charged with developing a plan and performing the work necessary to secure funding for high-speed rail in the Northwest.

With strong support from our representatives in Washington DC, our region can secure funds for high-speed rail, but that can’t do this on their own. We need to develop the plan and demonstrate the support for high-speed rail in the Northwest.

We must join as a region to meet the challenge and develop high-speed rail.

Comments

  • (Show?)

    Seems like a must. So refreshing to hear that Secy LaHood is on board, pun intended.

  • jonnie (unverified)
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    Does this mean Progressive will now support the Columbia Crossing Bridge if a high speed rail line and a light rail line is provided in the plans? We can't have those freight trains slowing down the high speed rail.

    Heck we piled on $12.8T in debt in the last 6 months, what's another few tens of trillions?

  • (Show?)

    Go Bill Go!

    A high speed rail is badly needed in the NW.

  • StephanAndrewBrodheadForCongress (unverified)
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    As a world traveller, a retired military aviator, and the son of a German immigrant women, I have seen first hand how backward our transportation grid really is. I really could careless what the CATO Institute has to say about rail transit.

    During the war while stationed at Mildenhal RAFB, another Flight Engineer and I took the tube from Cambridge to Gatwick to Soho, Piccadilly, and Trafalga square.

    While in Germany, we took the train into Munich (Munchen ) for a Schnitzel at the Hofbrau house in the Marian Platz.

    While in Sydney Australia, we took the tube everywhere.

    In Japan, we took the highspeed from Fusa to Mount Fuji!

    In Portland we take the train to Powells Bookstore!

    From the time I was a small child, taking trains was a natural event. While a GI, many a time the whole aircrew would take the trains after late night of drinking at a Beer Garten during "Operation Provide comfort"!

    So, Billy I did not appreciate you kicking me off the 2008 U.S. Congressional Ballot, but I do feel Mass Transit is part of our future. Have you found out if Obama travelled on an Indonesian passport in 1981 yet?

  • StephanAndrewBrodheadForCongress (unverified)
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    It is OK that a Republican has progressive views on High Speed Rail or do Democrats have ownership of that subject also?

    If you are not certain, ask Al Gore!

    He engineered the Green thing away from Nader, and he might know!

    Personally I am still trying to get over being called a racist for not voting for a one term Senator! Go ask Al he didnt even carry his home state in 2000. Oh and sign up to vacation in Cuba with Hugo!

  • jonnie (unverified)
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    I'll support it if our NW political contingent promises to not expense reimburse the taxpayer's for the tickets (first class or not) unlike Lunchpail Joe Biden who charges the federal taxpayer for this first class daily commutes.

  • (Show?)

    I would love to be able to hop on the train in the morning head to Salem or Eugene and get back on in the evening.

    Not only could there be potential positives for new employment opportunities, but folks that don't like the stress of driving from Salem to Portland or Salem to Eugene for work could have a new way to relax before getting into work.

  • Steve (unverified)
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    Well, OK, but we have Amtrak which we have to throw millions at every year, why is this an improvement?

  • SCB (unverified)
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    Do we lay a route for this new traffic corridor that follows the population, or that follows the land?

    The population is the corridor (the long term one that will be built) that lies from San Francisco to Seattle and north roughly where I-5 goes. The better land route takes a right turn at Weed, and goes up through Klamath Falls, Central Oregon, Yakima, and then down to Seattle. From Weed to Eugene on I-5, there are six passes or summits. From Weed to Bend there are two. The Siskiyou Summit is real steep, and often gets closed in the winter. The grade to the east to Klamath falls is not as steep, and not as prone to closure. From a rail perspective, that is very important.

    Is shouldn't be a "forgone conclusion" that a rail line should automatically be headed just to the I-5 corridor. The "through" traffic might be better served by a different route, and that route might just trigger economic growth in areas that could really use it that currently don't have other options.

    Anyway, consideration ought to be given to the flat routes that do better for rail versus the hilly routes we created for auto travel.

  • George Anonymuncule Seldes (unverified)
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    Let's not and say we did.

    What is it about shiny new toys that makes people go soft in the head? We have, as James Kunstler says, a railroad system that would make Bulgaria ashamed of itself, and we're talking about high-speed rail? We can't even get from the Willamette Valley to Eastern Oregon on any form of rail, but we're not interested in that -- we want the shiny "high speed rail" that requires buy all new right-of-ways with no curves, etc.

    How about we concentrate on getting back to where we were in 1920 -- not only would it be a lot cheaper, but it would be a lot more practical. High speed rail ain't so high speed if it stops more than once or twice -- so who needs to go to Seattle all that often without being allowed to stop in between? Where will the riders come from if the "high speed" is to be preserved?

    What we need is solid, frequent coverage up and down the Valley and to Ashland and over to K. Falls, and regular service through the Gorge and into Eastern Oregon, and over the pass to Bend.

    Let's be bold -- let's rebuild a system that works for everyday folks, and quit fantasizing about a system for the jet setters and the train foamers. Let's build a system that works as an auto-replacement for short and medium haul trips.

  • anonymous (unverified)
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    We could start with the money from the CRC in the transportation package.

  • LT (unverified)
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    "unlike Lunchpail Joe Biden who charges the federal taxpayer for this first class daily commutes.

    The Bidens now live in the VP residence in DC.

    What evidence do you have that Biden "charged federal taxpayers" for his commute as a Senator?

    Or was that just a drive-by slur?

  • jonnie (unverified)
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    anon: We could start with the money from the CRC in the transportation package.

    Ok. that buys you a couple miles track, and engine and maybe the capacity for 100 passengers. Where are you going to get the rest of the money?

    I guess Obama and the Progressives could just print more.

  • (Show?)

    Chuck wrote: "With some upgrades and improvements, Amtrak’s Cascade Corridor service already has the potential to reach 110 mph."

    That is a masterful understatement. Anyone who has actually ridden those tracks, as I have, knows full well how many upgrades and improvements are required merely to create a low speed train service. Trackage between San Francisco and Portland is hazardous right now; trackage between Portland and Seattle is, well, low speed at best.

    Basic message: you can't remedy a hundred years of neglect overnight and you can't remedy that neglect without massive cash infusions. Where's it going to come from? Maybe we can borrow it from Hugo Chavez(?)!

  • Phil Philiben (unverified)
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    All I know is that it sure would be nice to hop on a train in Bend and arrive downtown Portland in a few hours. Ah Utopia!

  • Kurt Chapman (unverified)
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    SCB brings up a good point regarding routes. The same route was originally proposed for I-5 and for the same reasons. Of course the result would have been the balkanization of Medford, Grants Pass, Roseburg and the surrounding counties. For that reason those entities successfully lobbied a change olmost 50 years ago in the route of I-5.

    By all means isolate all of southwestern oregon in this billion dollar boondoogle. Just don't ask us to help pay for it or maintain it. As for minor upgrades to the Cascade corridor - fergit it! This is hyperbole. The tracks through WA eith traverse the Stevens Pass route or hug the rim of Puget Sound. Speeds in many places are less than 30 mph; nowhere close to 110 mph.

  • Rails of the Crazy Train (unverified)
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    This also could be critical for job seekers. I won't go through that TSA nightmare and fly, and won't sit in traffic. That kind of limits the job market.

    I would use bike/Tri-Met to get to the train station and would consider working anywhere within 2 hours. I think a lot would do the same.

  • billy (unverified)
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    I've changed my mind. You would have to be crazy to argue for the alternatives. I still would prefer nothing happen, but if something is, then this is something anyone that gives a ggd can live with.

    Could we say that it's good use of the transportation dollar, and not claim that it's to reduce carbon. Doing so validates the notion that we need to and generates resistance to projects like this that could move ahead, otherwise.

    Thanks, B

  • Margie Paris (unverified)
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    High speed rail also will facilitate vital collaborations among Oregon's higher education centers in Portland, Corvallis, and Eugene. Better higher ed will produce a better standard of living for the entire state.

  • Mike Skehan (unverified)
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    Is High-Speed Rail (HSR) worth the investment? The short answer is a loud YES, and here’s a few good reasons why. Rail is much more fuel-efficient than cars, planes or trucks. Trains use 1/3 less fuel than trucks per ton-mile, ½ as much fuel per passenger mile over cars and planes, and pollute the atmosphere only half as much.
    That may not impress many these days, but if you think oil and gas are past their peak in production, and prices will only climb in the decades ahead, this becomes a really big deal – even threatening our global position as an economic power. Trains are powered by relatively cheap and available diesel, just like trucks and planes, but trains can be converted to overhead electric wires, and powered by emerging alternate energy sources. That’s not an option for planes, or the vast majority of our current auto fleet. Investments in our nations railroad networks that allow passenger trains to go 110+ mph, through the reduction of bottlenecks, also allow freight traffic to move more efficiently. Improvements to signal, safety, and grade crossings speed up both passenger trains, and freights. As America moves towards more HSR service, dedicated tracks, with no grade crossings or conflicts with slower freights will emerge in certain corridors, allowing much higher speeds. But first we must walk, before we can run. This can be a huge first step. Planes, cars, trucks and buses all have their place, each with their own strengths and weaknesses as modes of travel. The HSR initiative will gradually build upon our transportation network, offering alternatives for the future, and we as a nation will be better for it.
    President Obama is wise beyond his years to make this investment, and America should thank him for his vision. Mike Skehan, Member, All Aboard Washington

  • Daniel Ronan (unverified)
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    This is a great post! I'd like to alert readers to the a Facebook group I created for this cause. It's called "Advocates for a Eugene-Vancouver B.C. High-Speed Rail Corridor."

    I'd encourage anyone who is an advocate of high speed rail in the Northwest to join this group to band together!

  • rw (unverified)
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    Margie, you are only half right. People without education don't stand much of a chance, yes. And Oregon is scoring stellar on the drop out register these days. HOWEVER, the PacNW is flooded by over-educated people making bupkiss for the privilege of living here. Education is NOT the key to living better here in the PacNW. Stopping jobs from being outsourced is. Insisting that basic such as housing, food, utilities be pegged to earning levels is. Insisting that the corporations slopping at the trough of tax and other incentives pay the workers of this extremely-well-educated magnet state on par with peers elsewhere is a solution.

    Merely getting educated is not going to help anyone. The educated flock here for the lifestyle. OTher factors are more-key than education although I do agree that my child has received an education that is less than the one I received in the seventies and eighties. That WILL hurt him, but first the folks ahead of him are being hurt, Masters degrees and all.

  • George Anonymuncule Seldes (unverified)
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    Sam Smith of the Progressive Review has an outstanding piece on the mania for high speed rail, some of which points out that its nominal energy and carbon benefit quickly evaporate as the speed goes up.

    Go to the original for a linked version for many of the statements in this great piece.

    There are plenty of pro-rail people who want to see lots more spending on rail and a revival of what was once the world's greatest rail system. That's why we oppose high-speed rail as the basis of rail investment. When we've got a functioning 20th Century rail system, we can start thinking about 21st C. high-speed rail lines; in the meantime, spending on high-speed rail keeps people in cars and airplanes.

    http://prorev.com/2009/02/high-speed-high-cost-high-income-rail.html HIGH SPEED, HIGH COST, HIGH INCOME RAIL Sam Smith There's nothing wrong with high speed rail except that when your country is really hurting, when your rail system largely falls behind other countries' because of lack of tracks rather than lack of velocity, and when high speed rail appeals more to bankers than to folks scared of foreclosing homes, it's a strange transit program to feature in something called a stimulus bill. One might even call it an $8 billion earmark. I watched this development with a sense of deja vu. Long ago, I was a rare critic of DC's Metro subway plans, not because I was against mass transit, but because it was a highly inefficient way of spending mass transit funds compared to light rail or exclusive bus lanes. At the time we could have had ten times as many miles of light rail for the same price of the subway system. The other day I was struck by Metro bragging about its record ridership during the Obama inauguration. I was one of the few people in town who noticed that Metro had finally achieved what it had, at the beginning, promised the federal government would be normal. We needed a first black president to get that many riders. Further, Metro doesn't even have the capacity to handle that many people on a regular basis. Other problems I correctly projected included the fact that Metro wouldn't really compete with the automobile but with its own bus lines, that it was more of a land development than a transit scheme, and that auto traffic would increase as the subway encouraged new buildings but that a majority of the new users of these buildings would still come by car. I mention these examples because they illustrate the sort of complexity that transit planning involves, a complexity that rarely gets any attention in the media or by politicians. There's nothing like something as streamlined as a bullet to make everyone put away doubts, analysis and comparisons and just sit back and say, "Wow." The problem became permanently embedded in my mind after I asked a transportation engineer to identify the best form of mass transit. His immediate answer: "Stop people from moving around so much." So simple, yet so wise and so alien to almost every discussion of the topic you will hear. If we were really smart, we would be spending far more effort, for example, on redesigning neighborhoods so travel isn't so necessary. What if every urban neighborhood had minibus service to help people get to necessary services? Or a business center with high quality video conference and other equipment so that more people could work at home often? Instead we are planning to spend $8 billion so that people who already travel more than they should can do it faster and easier. Of course, there are plenty of political reasons for this. The extraordinary power of the highway lobby remains undiminished, as does the fear of the trucking industry that freight trains might take a major portion of their business away albeit making more sense economically and ecologically. One map of proposed routes shows not only high speed service to Las Vegas, home of the Senate majority leader, but a surprising number of routes spreading out from the Chicago of Barrack Obama and Rahm Emanuel. Admittedly these are just proposals. But the power and pressure are there. For example, Howard Learner, president of the Chicago-based, high speed rail pushing Environmental Law Policy Center, notes that the Federal Railroad Administration thinks a plan connecting Chicago and 11 other cities is the project most shovel ready. Wrote Jon Hilkevitch in the Chicago Tribune: "The ambitious project proposed for the Midwest would cover 3,000 miles in nine states. All lines would radiate from a hub in downtown Chicago. The cost of a fully completed Midwest network is estimated at almost $8 billion. . . Modern, comfortable, double-deck trains with wide seats and large windows would churn along at top speeds of 110 m.p.h. The faster trains would shave hours off trips, delivering passengers from one downtown to another hundreds of miles away. Amtrak trains in most of the Midwest now operate at up to 79 m.p.h., although average speeds are much slower, especially around Chicago due to freight traffic." And there's also the plan to electrify the route between San Jose and Nancy Pelosi's San Francisco. The truth is that conventional rail and bus riders aren't powerful enough to get what they need. Even upscale liberals prefer air or high speed rail. In the end, there's no strong constituency for the ordinary rider. As a result of such things, we can expect more than a fair share of hype and hokum as the high rail projects get underway. But here are a few real things to also keep in mind: Building new conventional rail lines would have had a much stronger effect on the economy than merely speeding up existing routes. Beyond the benefits of construction and the system itself, there would be the economic opportunities created along the route, just as happened when we first built rail and our country at the same time. Philip Longman in an excellent Washington Monthly article, writes, "Railroads have gone from having too much track to having not enough. Today, the nation's rail network is just 94,942 miles, less than half of what it was in 1970, yet it is hauling 137 percent more freight, making for extreme congestion and longer shipping times." When moving freight, speed is just not that important. An example can be found in a towboat pushing more freight up the Mississippi River than all the steamboats of Mark Twain's time. Why does this lethargic system work so well? Simply because it's not the speed but the capacity that matters. As long as what's on the barges keep coming, how fast it comes doesn't really matter. Passenger rail capacity is also important. We don't know what the real capacity of these high speed systems will be but we can guess that the railroads won't have large numbers of spare trains waiting around for the Christmas season. Conventional rail uses easily coupled old equipment to adjust for peaks, but high speed rail is so expensive that it is more likely to fall short. For example, Trains for America describes the problem with the high speed Acela: "The trains now run with an engine at each end. While that step speeds turnarounds when the Acela finishes its route and then reverses direction, reconfiguring trains to add coaches would be 'very difficult and very time consuming,' spokeswoman Karina Romero said. Amtrak also doesn't have any spare Acela passenger cars, so extending the trains would require buying more custom-built coaches, she said." The trucking lobby. Philip Longman notes that "In a study recently presented to the National Academy of Engineering, the Millennium Institute, a nonprofit known for its expertise in energy and environmental modeling, calculated the likely benefits of an expenditure of $250 billion to $500 billion on improved rail infrastructure. It found that such an investment would get 85 percent of all long-haul trucks off the nation's highways by 2030, while also delivering ample capacity for high-speed passenger rail. If high-traffic rail lines were also electrified and powered in part by renewable energy sources, that investment would reduce the nation's greenhouse gas emission by 38 percent and oil consumption by 22 percent." High speed trains can become a pollution problem. The progressive journalist George Monbiot has reported: "Though trains traveling at normal speeds have much lower carbon emissions than airplanes, Professor Roger Kemp of Lancaster University shows that energy consumption rises dramatically at speeds above 125 miles per hour. Increasing the speed from 140 to 220 mph almost doubles the amount of fuel burned. If the trains are powered by electricity, and if that electricity is produced by plants burning fossil fuels, they cause more CO2 emissions than planes." Where the Japanese model stumbles. A letter to the Cleveland Plain Dealer points out that "The population density of the major fast-train-using countries averages two-plus times that of Ohio (Japan's is 3.3 times); gasoline prices are 2.2 times the Ohio price; airport congestion is worse; and regulated airfares to convenient airports are higher than comparable U.S. destinations. What's more, arrival at a train terminal in a European or Japanese city often places you within walking distance of the major commercial and tourist locations. Not so in the United States. . . I have used high-speed trains many times and they are great, but building and operating them would be a major financial drain in Ohio." The cost factor: Based on the only example we have in the United States, high speed rail is substantially more expensive and serves a wealthier class of riders. For example, making a reservation on one conventional Amtrak train from Washington to NYC today would have cost $52 less than the high speed Acela. More startling is that conventional business class is $16 cheaper than Acela even though in conventional business class you get more leg room, much more space to stow your gear, a free newspaper and free coffee and soft drinks. And all this costs you is one extra half hour ride under more pleasant conditions. Cost of building high speed routes. Here's what the NY Times had to say the other day: "[The stimulus bill] will not be enough to pay for a single bullet train, transportation experts say. And by the time the $8 billion gets divided among the 11 regions across the country that the government has designated as high-speed rail corridors, it is unlikely to do much beyond paying for long-delayed improvements to passenger lines, and making a modest investment in California's plan for a true bullet train. In the short term, the money - inserted at the 11th hour by the White House - could put people to work improving tracks, crossings and signal systems." A completed California system alone is expected to cost about $45 billion. A major reason for the high cost: building exclusive tracks for the high speed trains. Even though Acela, for example, can theoretically hit 150 miles an hour, it only averages 84 mph between NYC and Washington, in part because of stops and in part because it uses improved conventional tracks. It only hits full speed on about 35 miles in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. But this raises an important and almost entirely undiscussed question. Is the huge expense of exclusive track high speed rail preferable to spending the money on expanding conventional service to many times more passengers? Ridership - Costs are changing, however, thanks to other problems. Back in August, the Boston Globe cheerfully reported: "Amtrak may add cars to its Acela, the fastest US passenger train, and raise fares as riders fill coaches on the Washington-to-Boston route, chief executive officer Alexander Kummant said. Demand for the high-speed service also may spur Amtrak to levy a surcharge to help buy additional equipment, Kummant said." But with the new year, Trains for America was telling a different story: "While Amtrak ridership, generally speaking, has continued to look fairly healthy despite the poor economy and lower fuel prices, the same cannot be said of the its Acela high-speed service on the Northeast Corridor. The recession has led to a decrease in business travel, prompting the company to reduce Acela fares in order to bring in more leisure travelers. From Bloomberg: 'Amtrak will offer one-way nonrefundable Acela business-class tickets for as low as $99 between New York and Washington, down from $133 or more, and as low as $79 between Boston and New York, from $93 or higher. The prices are available for travel from March 3 through June 26 and tickets must be purchased 14 days in advance. 'Acela ridership dropped about 14 percent in January from the same month a year ago, and about 10 percent for the four months ending in January from the same period last year, spokesman Cliff Cole said in a telephone interview from New York.' "If anything, this highlights the huge variation in the services Amtrak runs. Standard routes, and in particular those considered long-distance, have continued to see high levels of ridership. One wonders if many travelers aren't fleeing air carriers and high-speed services like Acela for a cheaper, if longer, journey on a train." Even before the downturn, however, the Acela ridership reports were less than stunning. For example, in the last fiscal year the conventional northeast coast regional service rose 9.5% while Acela ridershp only went up 6.5%. Seventy percent of the ridership along the northeast corridor remained with the slower, cheaper trains. Meanwhile other conventional service was booming. The Keystone Service, which operates between Harrisburg, Philadelphia, and New York City, rose 20 percent. The Downeaster, operating several times daily between Portland, Maine and Boston, Mass., grew 31 percent, despite being slower than an express bus because of all of its stops. Chicago-Wisconsin Hiawatha service was up nearly 26 percent. And the Kansas City to St. Louis route grew more than 30 percent. Some other traditional train routes that grew more than twice as much as the high speed Acela: Oakland-Sacramento, Northern California's Capitol Corridor service, and Chicago-San Antonio. Other uses: - Philip Longman, in his Washington Montly article, reminds us of alternative uses of conventional rail that seldom get mentioned. Some past examples: "The Pacific Fruit Growers Express delivered fresh California fruits and vegetables to the East Coast using far less energy and labor than today's truck fleets. . . . The Railway Express Agency, which attached special cars to passenger trains, provided Americans with a level of express freight service that cannot be had for any price today, offering door-to-door delivery of everything from canoes to bowls of tropical fish to, in at least one instance, a giraffe. . . . High-speed Railway Post Office trains also offered efficient mail service to even the smallest towns which is not matched today. In his book Train Time, Harvard historian and rail expert John R. Stilgoe describes the Pennsylvania Railroad's Fast Mail train No. 11, which, because of its speed and on-board crew of fast sorting mail clerks, ensured next-day delivery on a letter mailed with a standard two-cent stamp in New York to points as far west as Chicago. Today, that same letter is likely to travel by air first to FedEx's Memphis hub, then be unloaded, sorted, and reloaded onto another plane, a process that demands far greater expenditures of money, carbon, fuel, and, in many instances, time than the one used eighty years ago. . . Another potential use of steel wheel interstates would be auto trains." o The big advantage of high speed rail is that the media, politicians and upper class love the idea and are happy to promote it without asking any of the hard questions. But it's worth remembering that after Washington and San Francisco blew huge sums on subways, city planners finally got wise and started looking at less expensive transit systems that were more efficient in every regard except speed. And so, Washington is today finally working towards having its first light rail route in 47 years. Finally, there is a lot of talk about how the Obama administration is a second New Deal. But the first New Deal would never have spent huge sums on super trains for the better off; it would have expanded decent if unexotic rail service for ordinary folks. Today you can hardly even get Democrats to talk about such things.
  • joel dan walls (unverified)
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    The Portland terminus ought to be at Jim Kaarlock's house.

  • rw (unverified)
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    JDW: laughing uproarously here. K'lock is a world class turd, that is sure. :)

  • jamie (unverified)
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    Twit.

    Thanks JK

  • Scott J (unverified)
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    I think high speed rail is a great idea. As I'm driving my SUV down the freeway (I can afford the gas and the carbon taxes) there will be less of you in my way.

    You'll be crammed on the public subsidized train sitting next to people with BO and bad breath, snoring and talking out loud.

    I will stop where I want for lunch, go on my schedule, and not have to rent a ride or beg a ride from a friend/relative at destination. It's called freedom!

    Have fun!

  • Austin T (unverified)
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    It's all about you, Scott J, it's all about you. You are so falsely free to stink things up in pursuit of your self interest, and don't give a shit about anyone else. No sacrifice for the greater good, no consideration of your community -- other than arrogant dismissal of the smelly snoring peasants. God forbid one sneezes on you.

    Cleaner, more sensible transportation infrastructure will not happen on your watch. That's fine. But when someone sensible posts a column here that may lead us in the best direction, perhaps you could just sit in your garage, in your SUV, with the motor running, and not bother us.

  • Scott J (unverified)
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    Austin,

    It shouldn't bother you that I choose to do things differently than you. It's your life. Live it.

    Austin, one more thing to think about: You can't deliver "Meals on Wheels" on a bullet train.

    You can't pick up elderly neighbors in 8 inch snow and drive them to Walgreens to pick up their prescription on the bullet train either.

    So PLEASEEEEE, get off your high horse.

  • Sheri Fresonke Harper (unverified)
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    Absolutely right, I've ridden many high speed systems around the world and their dynamics are much different from bus systems and ease of use. Let's hope. :) Sheri

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