"All Aboard? Obama's Stimulus Plan Includes $8 Billion For High-Speed Rail...."
By David Rogers - Politico (From TwinCities.com)
Posted: 02/17/2009 12:01:00 AM CST
"Railroads made Chicago, and now a Chicago-rich White House wants to return the favor: remaking rail with a huge new federal investment in high-speed passenger trains.
The $787.2 billion economic recovery bill — to be signed by President Barack Obama today — dedicates $8 billion to high-speed rail.... "
"It's a sum that far surpasses anything before attempted in the United States - and more is coming. Administration officials told Politico that when Obama outlines his 2010 budget next week, it will ask for $1 billion more for high-speed rail in each of the next five years. "
.... "As a candidate for president, Obama spoke of high-speed rail as part of his vision of "rebuilding America." Campaigning in Indiana, he talked of revitalizing the Midwest by connecting cities with faster rail service to relieve congestion and improve energy conservation."
"The time is right now for us to start thinking about high-speed rail as an alternative to air transportation connecting all these cities," he said. "And think about what a great project that would be in terms of rebuilding America."
"[C]onservative Republicans ... painted the whole funding as a scheme by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on behalf of Las Vegas interests seeking a rail link to Los Angeles. "Sin City to Tomorrow Land" was one description."
"It's amazing. I'm stunned," [HARRY REID] said in an interview Friday, hours before the bill passed Congress. " "I'm glad I get the credit in Nevada, but this is Obama's No. 1 priority. This is his legacy issue out of this bill, because we need these high-speed corridors. ... I'll take credit but frankly didn't have much to do with it other than carry forward with what Obama wanted."
"[I]t is a landmark transportation investment with regional effects in almost every corner of the nation. Just last October, former President George W. Bush signed a bill authorizing up to $1.5 billion for high-speed rail through 2013. Obama's commitment in the same period will be eight times that."
What a difference to have a President who does not belong to the corporations, and do their bidding to the disgrace of the nation. Why don't we have public transportation and a decent rail system? Because the automobile industry destroyed public transportation to force Americans to buy cars. It's really just that simple. The profit of the car industry was put in front of the reasonable needs of the citizens. And the results are a disgrace.
In many major metropolitan areas, people are unable to travel to work, or into or out of the city, or out of town, without spending at least an hour sitting on a freeway with thousands of other people, inhaling poisons and wasting their lives. Not to mention all the car-related expenses every individual has to bear in contrast with a decent public transportation system which provides reasonably efficient and affordable transportation.NPR had a piece on the proposed new light rail system this morning. One person said that the system would include a light rail train between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The trip would take 2 hours and 40 minutes, and would cost $55.00. I hope that whoever is in charge of this will put the light rail stations outside of Los Angeles, far from the airport. The problem with air travel from LAX is that you can't get to the airport. It costs over $50 just for a van service to the airport from surrounding communities. The cost of getting to the airport is sometimes more than the cost of the airplane ticket. Yes, that's just how crazy it is. Because of the cars, and because there is no public transportation system for most of the people on the freeways.
I don't know if California is the worst state in the country for traffic, but it must be right up there. Here's a link to a blog about light-speed rails for California. http://cahsr.blogspot.com/