Marine Transportation System

Posts Tagged ‘high speed rail’

The Grass is Greener – Pt.1

In Federal Government on August 19, 2009 at 11:23 pm

Envy is a perfectly serviceable starting point for developing national transportation policy.  Our new high-speed rail program is an apt example.  It’s a Euro-inspired, greenish gleam in a candidate’s eye made billion-dollar real by our new president and the stimulus package.  While we wait for our first bullet-ride to Disney World or Albany let’s consider what the national transportation policies of other countries are accomplishing. We will start with our friends to the north who want Canada to be the continent’s gateway.   To Memphis.

Canada Gateways

The Canada’s Gateways program is impressive.  Watching a visiting transportation official give a presentation on it is like listening to a nice kid tell of his elegant plan to steal your lunch.  As he speaks it sinks in that you will go hungry that day; you slowly grasp your trumpet case to make sure he doesn’t walk away with it also.  The adult response is to admire the strategic thinking and implementation…while watching one’s lunch walk away.

The Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative is especially impressive. Short Pacific crossings by Asian cargo to new and expanded ports.  Then double stacked boxes onto improved CN and CP freight lines that run down to the American Midwest and Mississippi corridor.  Public and private money.  Public and private roles.  One national strategy.

And here’s something to make you reach for the pink stuff:  the still young Port of Prince Rupert just posted a 124% increase in containers (1st half 2009 over 1st half 2008) in one of the worst global economies ever.   That it only handled under 100,000 TEUs in these 6 months is of little consolation to US Pacific ports who face an efficient rail corridor to the north and a new canal corridor to open in Panama.

Freight stakeholders in the U.S. are pressing decision makers in Washington and gateway states to adopt favorable gateways and corridors policies to address national goods movement needs on all coasts.  Lucky for them inspiration is just a mouse click away in the federal role discussion on the “Canada’s Gateways” website.

“Coherent action requires a systems-based approach, and real partnerships with provincial governments and the private sector. Success will depend upon how well the key players — public and private — coalesce around a coherent vision. A key factor in the successful development of the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative was the extent to which a stakeholder- driven consensus had taken shape over a number of years.  ….  Actions should complement current market-oriented transportation policies, with governments creating a positive climate for private investment in gateway infrastructure, while safeguarding the public interest.”



A Tale of Two Conditions

In Infrastructure on August 10, 2009 at 10:38 pm

Pulaski Skyway

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,

it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness,

it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity,

it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness,

it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair,

we had everything before us, we had nothing before us…

I.  Investing for the future….

Chairman John Olver (D-MA) of the House transportation appropriations subcommittee on July 23rd during the DOT FY 2010 funding debate, extolling the $4,000,000,000 contained in the bill for high speed and passenger rail: ” …the high speed rail program for combined high-speed rand intercity passenger rail …is the most imporant transportation initiative since the Eisenhower Interstate Highway System, the National Defense Highway System of 50 years ago…”

II.  Disinvesting in the present…

Caption: “FALLING APART – Replacing the Pulaski Skyway in North Jersey, which is in dangerous disrepair, would cost an estimated $1.2 billion.”   “A June study by the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials ranked road conditions in New York, Connecticut and New Jersey 43rd, 44th and 50th, respectively, among the states.” … David Kocieniewski, NYTimes, July 24