November 10, 2008

THE UPSIDE OF DITCHING THE OIL MEN:

Train travel on track for a large push: Going by rail is gaining favor amid high fuel costs. Plans in the state and elsewhere may encourage more use. (Joan Lowy, November 10, 2008, LA Times)

After half a century as more of a curiosity than a convenience, passenger trains are getting back on track in some parts of the country.

The high cost of fuel, coupled with congestion on highways and at airports, is drawing travelers back to trains not only for commuting but also for travel between cities as much as 500 miles apart.

Last week, Californians approved Proposition 1A to sell nearly $10 billion in bonds to get going on an 800-mile system of bullet trains that could zip along at 200 mph, linking the Bay Area and Southern California and the cities in between.

In the Midwest, transportation officials are pushing a plan to connect cities in nine states in a hub-and-spoke system centered in Chicago.

The public is far ahead of policymakers in recognizing trains as an attractive alternative to cars and planes, said Rep. James L. Oberstar (D-Minn.), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.


The corresponding move needs to be taxing the bejeebies out of aviation fuel.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at November 10, 2008 8:25 AM
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