Monday, June 12, 2006

Let's Participate In The TTC

The TTC is something called the Trans-Texas Corridor, and, like Chicago's Circle line for rapid transit, it has several forms as initially proposed.

We suppose that we are dealing with Texas here. (Most of those Texans still think that our side of the Rio Grande - we live in Albuquerque's Northeast Heights - belongs to Texas.) So a Texas Corridor is a particularly wide transportation corridor.

We quote the Dallas Star-Telegram of May 21: Some stretches of TTC-35 might include -- within a broad corridor up to 1,200 feet wide -- separate lanes for passenger vehicles, 18-wheelers, freight trains and high-speed passenger rail and conduits for water lines, oil and natural gas pipelines, and transmission of electricity and broadband. Motorists would pay tolls to travel on the higher-speed corridor.

TTC-35 would be the north-south corridor designed to relieve traffic along Interstate 35 and in and around Dallas, Waco, Austin, and San Antonio. It would begin at the Oklahoma border and run to the Mexican border. An east-west TTC is also proposed, possibly running north or south of Dallas, but in any event from New Mexico to Louisiana or Arkansas.

What happens at the borders? We don't know, but try to imagine. A quarter mile's width of semis, trains, and pipelines would have to squeeze into some pretty narrow rights of way.

That's why we propose that New Mexico, at least, participate in the TTC. We could call it the Trans-New Mexico Texas Corridor or TNMTC. Somehow, we just don't want all that traffic piled up in Clovis, Roswell, or San Jon. Okay, maybe Tucumcari, which is possibly the world's most populated ghost town, but not San Jon. (San Jon is a great little town in eastern New Mexico south of Interstate 40 on a 4-lane that used to be Route 66.)

Then when the traffic gets to Arizona, it can just spill out onto the desert and stay there.

In any case, Trans-Whatever Texas-Sized corridors are the next big thing, and passenger rail will be better for them. If they catch on, they could be as abundant as Interstate highways (whether that is a good thing or not) and abundantly more useful if properly designed. That means designed with the hindsight to see that the Interstate Highway System, designed in the 1950s to take automobile transport into the next century, only barely made it; and most had to be extensively rebuilt before 2001; and those probably won't make it to 2020.

So let's put at least two Trans-State (lets call them Texas-Style, for their size) Corridors in each state: one north-south and one east-west. And let's reserve a high-speed, well-signaled, double track main line for Passenger Rail on each and every one of them. (You know we will have to shoot or hang all the NIMBYs and the BANANAs or send them to France to do this, don't you?)

And if we had our 'druthers, we wouldn't build a single square inch of asphalt on 'em for the truckers. Give them the Ancient Interstates and let the truckers maintain 'em from revenues for awhile.

Everybody will start to appreciate rail tranportation, and Passenger Rail, a whole lot more.

Please read and participate in our sister blog, The Railroad.

© 2006 - C. A. Turek - mistertrains@gmail.com

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