Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Is Indiana Ready for High Speed Rail?

This comes from the Indiana Star's High-speed rail: What does it mean for Indiana?. My answer: we had better be ready.
The proposed Midwest Regional Rail Initiative designates Chicago as the hub, with spokes radiating out through nine states, including one through Lafayette and Indianapolis that ends in Cincinnati. The hope is that a trip from Downtown Indianapolis to downtown Chicago would take two hours."There is an opportunity to connect Chicago, Indianapolis, Detroit, Milwaukee, St. Louis, so that we're linking up some of these major metropolitan hubs in ways that provide us a competitive advantage in the world economy," Obama recently told reporters.

Er, does not that mean a spoke through northern Indiana to Detroit? Take a look at this map.

Of course, there is a lead lining to all this:
In addition, while the $8 billion is an unexpected boost for high-speed rail, it's far short of what will be needed for the 11 routes nationwide -- including the Chicago Hub Network -- that the federal government has designated as high-speed rail corridors."I would just observe that that wouldn't go very far if the idea is to actually build some of these," Gov. Mitch Daniels said after Congress passed the stimulus bill, which included the $8 billion. "I wouldn't want Indiana to get left holding the bag -- an enormous bag -- for some system that's put in place and then began losing money, which these things tend to do."
So much for the man-of-change Daniels. Fuel will not stay as cheap as it is now (anyone out there who expects cheap gas for the next year?) and we will need to move people back and forth.

Thanks to The Star for tipping me off to the Indiana High Speed Rail Association. Who would have thought we had such a thing? Its mission statement reads as follows:
With a consensus of Indiana citizens, business and government, the Indiana High Speed Rail Association seeks to develop a viable multimodal high speed rail network in Indiana with links to adjacent high speed rail networks consistent with environmental, business, personal and financial needs.

They list their Board here. Check them out.
For a bit about Japanese bullet trains take a look here.

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