The Case for Trains? People Are Starting to Get it!
The arguments supporting more and better and faster passenger trains keep piling up and, considered all together, seem to be gaining some traction with the general public. These come to mind as I write this, and there are a bunch more.
If you’re traveling to visit relatives over the holidays, the Department of Energy says Amtrak is 34% more energy efficient than your family car and 17% more efficient than if you were to fly.
In Indiana, someone in the State Department of Transportation has figured out that it would cost them about $3.7 million a mile to build a new passenger rail line, but if they were to construct a new interstate highway instead, the price tag for that, even in flat-as-a-pancake Indiana, would be $15 to $20 million per mile.
Roads and highways cost mega-billions to build and maintain, but no one ever does a cost/benefit analysis because roads don’t generate revenue. When was the last time we saw a headline saying the interstate highway system lost X-hundred-billion dollars last year?
The airlines are cutting back and offering fewer flights: 14.3% fewer at all airports and 21.3% at smaller airports. But Amtrak can fill that gap because more than half of all Americans live within 25 miles of a station served by a long-distance train. We don’t have to build more highways for those people … just add one or two more trains a day.
It’s all starting to make sense, isn’t it! Maybe that makes me the eternal optimist, but I think we’ll see some real progress in the next couple of years.
Oh … and a Happy Thanksgiving to all!