State Of The Trains.


I watched the State of the Union address several nights ago. It was one of the best I’ve ever seen especially the joke about the smoked salmon I don’t remember any president having a sense of humor like this.

They’res enough commentary about the dynamics of the speech itself but it seems to me the substance of it was: cuts and reorganization over the next year, some of which will be most painful. Time will tell. But I think the president fell off the page with his iniative or policy to “bring high-speed rail to 80% of Americans.” I’m thinking that he also stated “within five years.”

This would be an unrealistic goal at fifteen years, and this is assuming that the capital funding was even available and that the projects were in alignment with what the respective states want to accomplish with respect to transportation and high-speed rail. Well, they aren’t and using New Hampshire as an example: The Capitol Corridor. This is the former Senator Burling led endeavor to bring passenger rail service from Boston up to Concord. Of course it was a caviar laced idea from the very start and today it is all but dead. I think states like Wisconsin and Indiana can report similar results from what they have been told by Washington, D.C. What I’m really wondering is if the president actually believes in what he said during his speech or this is simple politics and ideas advanced by his cabinet Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood?

In 2003 I participated as a public member in the Vermont portion of the Boston-Montreal High-Speed Rail Study they’re were only two meetings in Montpelier and Vermont did it correctly they understood to be successful there would have to be a coordinated integration of not only the markets that are served but by the existing passenger rail carrier namely, Amtrak. But the whole idea of Boston-Montreal High-Speed rail still didn’t seem to be moving anywhere. The last I heard is that New Hampshire was refusing to pay $50K for the G.I.S. mapping of the route through the granite state and this has more or less killed the whole idea, at least for now.

Perhaps after the State of the Union address it will all get going again.