We have been reading much in recent days about successful Passenger Rail projects. The most recent newsletter from NARP (see link at right) has a list of completed projects and future projects.
We are proud of and thank God for the completions. We are happy with the number of projects in the works for completion in the next five to seven years. But we are frustrated by two things.
The first is that many of the projects in the works will be stalled, cancelled or downgraded because of the current lack of federal funding and the downturn in the economy. The politicians think they can do a whole lot about the latter, but they can't. They could fix the former, but won't in any election year.
The second thing that frustrates us is the low percentage of future projects that are for intercity rail. Yes, Passenger Rail is just as important to the urban network. But intercity Passenger Rail is and has to be the wave of the future if we are to wean ourselves from expensive oil and from overcrowded overreliance on the highway and air transport system.
Only two frustrations? you ask. More actually. Some of which involve the way our overblown, self-important bureaucracy tends to feed on its young. Such as the FRA taking the tightest, most literal construction for ADA compliance of all Passenger Rail station platforms. (Very well reported in the March 2008 Trains.)
There is no reason for some of it, and some of it comes from the abject fear of being sued, which is fostered by our system of torts. Most judges never met a lawsuit they didn't like.
We hope that next February, NARP's list of future projects is longer and has more intercity rail on it.
©2008 - C. A. Turek - firstname.lastname@example.org