Amtrak Unveils Ambitious Northeast Corridor Plan, But It Would Take 30 Years to be Realized

Amtrak High Speed Rail Plan

» Unfunded, $117.5 billion proposal would speed trains from Boston to Washington in just 3h23. Amtrak wants a full new corridor along the entire line, including a new inland route through Connecticut.

After months of sitting on the sidelines as states and regional agencies promoted major new high-speed rail investments, Amtrak has finally announced what it hopes to achieve over the next thirty years: A brand-new, 426-mile, two-track corridor running from Boston to Washington, bringing true high-speed rail to the Northeast Corridor for the first time.

The report, released today at a press conference in Philadelphia, suggests investing $4.7 billion annually over the next 25 years on the creation of a route that would allow trains to speed between New York and Washington in 96 minutes and between New York and Boston in just 84 minutes. The line would run along a corridor that could stretch in

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When the Recession Strikes, Little Maneuvering Room for Better Transit

Proposed Entrance to the University of Washington Link Station

» Seattle’s large rail expansion program will be delayed thanks to a decline in local tax revenues. The sales tax comes back to bite.

The recession has not been kind to transportation agencies anywhere in the country. The loss of local revenues from dedicated taxes has in many places required agencies to reduce bus and rail operations — even with the significant aid that accompanied the 2009 Stimulus bill. But long-term consequences have been even more problematic for the hundreds of expansion plans either under construction or planned; in metropolitan areas from Dallas to Denver, previously funded projects have been put on hold.

Seattle’s Sound Transit is the most recent to announce its own problems: Last week, the agency revealed that its fifteen-year estimates for revenue collection established just two years ago would be 25% lower than expected. This means that a once $18 billion proposal to extend the region’s

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Republican Wave Could Spell Trouble for High-Speed Rail Projects from Coast to Coast

At Stake: Gubernatorial Races and Intercity Rail

» With governorships up for grabs in most of the nation’s states, local support for more spending on infrastructure could be eliminated.

Intent on demonstrating their resistance to virtually all of President Obama’s policy objectives, Republicans nationwide have staked out an anti-rail position that they hope will stand out as the fiscally reasonable choice when they present themselves in this fall’s elections. Though the current Democratic administration will remain in power at least until early 2013, shifting control of Congress and potential power changes at the state level could dramatically reduce the ability of the Department of Transportation to advance its plans for the development of intercity rail.

Current polling suggests that Republicans are likely to do well in November across the country. The GOP has been leading the charge against high-speed rail since the program was first announced in February 2009.

Most problematic are the governorships, up for

Continue reading Republican Wave Could Spell Trouble for High-Speed Rail Projects from Coast to Coast »

Washington’s Capital Bikeshare Launches, Bringing Biggest-Yet System to the U.S.

Capital Bikeshare at Dupont

» Nation’s first modern bike sharing city replaces its fleet. Program could bring dramatic change to one of the nation’s more vibrant inner cities.

When Washington’s SmartBike DC system began operating in 2008, the city was doing something no U.S. municipality had yet attempted: Betting that locals and tourists would excitedly jump onto public bicycles, encouraging the growth of a transportation mode that has too often been left behind by automobile-oriented planners.

Unfortunately, that bet failed to come through: The system was never frequently used, with an average of only about one hundred daily riders. For those of us used to using bike sharing networks, there were good explanations for the system’s difficulties: It was confined in too small of an area; it only offered about 100 bikes total; and it only had ten stations. European standards, grounded in model schemes in Lyon, Barcelona, and Paris, suggested that the most

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Weekend Links

CAF Light Rail

» This week’s big news. Open thread in the comments.

Follow my Twitter account (@ttpolitic) to get news in real time.

The Transport Politic

New York to study Red Hook streetcars, but what are the city’s goals?
New Heartland Corridor increases freight capacity between East Coast and Chicago
Tampa outlines plan for spending after transit tax referendum
Political will disappearing, New Jersey’s ARC project could be on the way out

Bus Rapid Transit in San Francisco’s East Bay, on Next American City

Look Out? Building a BRT line in California is No Simple Matter
Opposition to a Bus Rapid Transit System is More than Just NIMBYism
Envisioning a Different Kind of Region

California and Its Friends

With the November elections in the U.S. likely to be difficult for generally pro-high-speed rail Democrats, the likelihood of increasing federal funding for the transportation mode over the next few years is depressingly low, putting

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The Site / The Fight

by Yonah Freemark

yfreemark (at) thetransportpolitic (dot) com

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