High-Speed Rail President


We here at the transport politic sure are a little upset about our inability to find out more information about what happened at the news conference that took place today at Penn Station. We told you on Friday that there was going to be a news conference between Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters to discuss the potential for a second Northeast Corridor for the sole purposes of running high-speed trains, and indeed, Am New York reports that there was such a news conference. But we haven’t been able to find any official announcements on the ‘net, so it’s a little unclear how much to believe and how much to report.

That said, The Washington Times talked to “congressional transportation leaders” who described that what Ms. Peters was indeed announcing was the release of a request for proposals (RFP) for private corporations to build a new high-speed line between Washington and New York that would allow trains to make the trip in less than two hours. Specifically, the DOT is preparing for a $30-40 billion project, on par with the California High-Speed Rail proposal. A private company would be asked to come up with a plan, and then Congress could vote on whether it wanted to fund it, in 2010 or 2011. We wish we could be less vague.

These “leaders” also suggested that the other projects up for consideration for future high-speed rail service (in addition to California) were a north-south line in Florida, a connector between Portland and Seattle, a series of Midwest corridors emanating from Chicago, and the Texas Triangle project.

Obviously, we’ll keep you up to date when real news comes in.

In other news, President-elect Barack Obama is going to ride to the inauguration in a train! The event will begin with an event in Philadelphia, then proceed with a pickup of Vice President-elect Joe Biden in Wilmington, follow with a second event in Baltimore, and conclude with an arrival at Washington’s Union Station.

OK, so maybe he will be a pro-rail president after all?

3 replies on “New HSR-NEC”

I am so interested to see that news report. I am admittedly from the deep south (arkansas/ mississippi). A privately built HSR line is very appealing to me any where, but especially if it doesnt involve our government going in to debt deeper. On the other hand, we are so deep any way if we could reasonably throw up lines in the worst needed areas, like Cali, the north east, the texas T- bone…Id be game. Maybe it would be the beginning to the change in public opinion.

I find it rather difficult to take seriously — there is the serious question of acquiring the real estate for such a line. However, running trains or even building track seems potentially feasible for a private consortium.

Privatism can only work to the extent what you are proposing resembles a competitive market. There is nothing in this form or substance that remotely resembles a competitive marketplace. The key, valuable concept it competition not privatization. This proposal is an ideological trojan horse meant to belittle all public mass transit operations. Was AMTRAK’s fare box recover rate so much worse than Lehman Brothers?

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