Obama highlights plans for high-speed rail in at least 10 regions

Saturday, April 18, 2009

From the New York Times. Here's my preferred one:

Primarily because it's a route that would easily link up with Canada (Vancouver) and hopefully spur high-speed rail there, and also because there seems to be a lot of political will in Oregon to be a pioneer in environmental technology, and this would be a nice touch as well. The total route would be about 600 km from Vancouver to Eugene, and would serve at least 10 million people, perhaps more when neighboring communities within an hour or so by car are factored in.

But then again each other route also has its own importance and I don't want to pretend I've compared the costs and benefits of each.

Also notice that VP Joe Biden is there at the press conference too; he's been an advocate of rail since the dawn of history.

So what sort of timeline are we looking at? Apparently the money will begin to be handed out by the end of the summer. The problem is with how little money there is - $8 billion to start, and $1 billion a year after that. A route proposed in Canada from Calgary to Edmonton for example is expected to cost $3 billion to $12 billion. That's only $2.5 billion to $10 billion in USD (right now anyway) so not sure how far the $8 billion could stretch here as that would only be $800 million per project if it was really going out to all ten (or more).

Since this isn't my specialty perhaps I'll end this with a question for those in the know: just how much of a jumpstart is $8 billion plus $1 billion a year, and should it be focused on a single or small number of routes or is spreading it around to each one of ten really effective?


Anonymous said...

Let them adopt the TGV! It works great!

Olivier the non-driver

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