Posting in Government
The U.S. DOT has released a combined $782 million to several states to develop American-made rail systems and create manufacturing jobs.
Last week, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) released $336.2 million to five U.S. states to invest in American-made trains for their existing rail networks. All told, including previously awarded funds, California, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, and Washington will receive a combined $782 million to buy 33 quick-acceleration locomotives and 120 bi-level passenger cars, according to a DOT statement.
“Today’s announcement is all about jobs. Thanks to the leadership of the Obama Administration, these orders will pump more than three quarters of a billion dollars into the domestic manufacturing industry,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “And, our Buy America standard will put people to work all over the county.”
In releasing these funds, the U.S. government hopes to generate more manufacturing jobs while simultaneously improving the country's passenger rail network.
“Building a nationwide rail network is critical to America’s long-term economic success. More people are choosing to take the train and this year Amtrak is projected to set an all-time record by topping 30 million annual riders,” said Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph C. Szabo.
The move comes amid several rail initiatives by the Obama administration, including a $562.9 million loan to Amtrak for the purchase of 70 electric trains. Overall, the government has made a $10.1 billion investment for the development of a high speed and intercity passenger rail network throughout the United States. So far, $6 billion of this amount has been deployed, and railway projects are underway in New England, Illinois, Washington, North Carolina, and California.
Photo: Simon Pielow/Flickr
Aug 11, 2011
We do need more rail transport because it is the fastest, least energy intensive, and lowest cost form of ground transportation known. Most air transportation looks like it will die with cheap liquid fuels - which leaves rail and ocean shipping to take up the transportation needs. However, our rail system was designed in the 1800s. Technology and routing need to be totally changed and rail hub distribution systems totally rethought. This is a very expensive political bandaid and has next to no real economic feasibility planning involved in it - just enough to get through the next election cycle - which is how we got in this situation to begin with.
Upgrading railways is a waste of money. If people wanted to ride rail, the rail system wouldn't be in as bad shape as it has been for decades. That is, if rail made money in the first place it would have been upgraded long ago. I wish America's romance with trains would end already.
Only the restoration of the old Vermonter line from New Haven CT to Hartford CT to Springfield MA that would ultimately terminate in Montreal Canada stands a chance. The passengers are there on crowded highways and restoring the line is far cheaper than the alternative of widening over 300 miles of highway on both I91 and I89. And dont even think about HSR. The cost of upgrading the infrastructure with high-speed rails and electricity is cost prohibitive. The number of stops planned also makes HSR cost prohibative. A conventional diesel electric running at 100 mph would do well competing against vehicular traffic and would be substantially more cost effective to start up and operate.
At least SmartPlanet usually tries to put some kind of interesting technological spin on this garbage. Just more churnalism. Come on, at least you guys usually try to a little better than this. Or has "Recovery Summer, the Sequel" just been too depressing?
Do they still use traveling time to sort the mail? Some of those 'old' ideas were well out of the box.
If you bought anything from Sears catalog prior to 1960 it shipped by train. Sears old warehouses in Chicago, many still standing vacant since they moved to the Sears Tower, all had rail car loading docks. Most US mail between cities was shipped by train until the 1960s with major regional post offices like the South Boston office having rail access until urban redevelopment in the 1960s cut the rail line and forced them to use trucks. Expedited airmail was an extra you paid for to get 2 days delivery. During the mad rush to expand the highways in the 1960s and 1970s there was an equally mad rush to justify them. The US Postal Service walked away from 100 years of using trains to move mail in favor of using trucks. I will bet if anyone did an honest cost analysis now they would find the old methods to be far more cost effective than shipping everything by truck or plane. The daily cargo provided by the likes of Sears and USPS allowed regular passenger train service between major cities to be profitable. An honest restructuring of the national rail system needs to include the creation of true rail hubs at port cities to facilitate the shipment of goods in and out of the country. The grid of express trains doing 100 mph that criss-crossed the nation until the 1950s needs to be reestablished. What the highway proponents of the 1960s and 1970s missed about Eisenhowers vision is that he saw highways being a strong compliment to our national railways. He never saw them as a replacement.
After spending the last several years lionizing HSR and using China's massive program as a lead to follow, I should expect some relief from the endless and misleading propaganda for a some time now that China's expensive, corrupt and now fatal system has been exposed for what it really is. Do notice that it's been nearly 2 weeks since we've had a "We must have HSR" article here at SmartPlanet; a record.