Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Less High-Speed Rail, More Freight Rail

High-speed rail is the technology of the future, always has been, always be. For the last 40 years, many states have had plans for rail lines they'd like to build sometime in the next 5-10 years. The hype about intercity high-speed rail has picked up again lately with the Disneyland-Las Vegas line Harry Reid would like to see built, and the $8 billion in the stimulus bill for High-Speed rail projects.

While many rail advocates think we should build these lines no matter the cost, high-speed rail is not going to become a major form of transport in this country anytime soon because it is so expensive to build and most cities can't provide the ridership for frequent service. A more realistic attempt to build up rail at the expense of highway traffic would be to focus on freight, and get the trucks off the road. Phillip Longman at Washington Monthly has a good idea on how to do this.

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