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9 in 10 Americans view high-speed rail as an option

Stimulus money adds publicity

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Nearly 9 in 10 Americans are thinking about high-speed rail as a long-distance travel option, according to a survey conducted by architecture and engineering firm HTNB Corporation. The Obama administration recently awarded $8 billion in stimulus funds to high-speed rail projects, primarily in California, Florida, and Illinois.

However, support is slightly lower than in March 2009, when 94 percent of Americans viewed high-speed rail as a travel option. And while 54 percent of Americans last year would have preferred to take high-speed rail instead of driving or flying, that number has declined to 38 percent now. HTNB attributes the drop primarily to a decrease in gasoline prices:
“The pain we all felt when gasoline was hovering near $4 a gallon has receded,” [HTNB high-speed rail services chair Peter] Gertler said. “Yet we can’t stand by for the next crisis to hit to address the underlying issues of congestion and our dependency on limited fossil fuels.”

The survey also found that 83 percent of Americans favor greater federal investment in transit and high-speed rail:

“While our interstate highways empowered economic growth and development during the last 50 years, we can no longer simply build our way out of congestion and conservation problems,” Gertler said. “Establishing a long-term multi-modal transportation vision that includes rail is crucial.”

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Howard Bingham said:

The money for HSR would be better invested in upgrading the existing rail network by double tracking single track lines, grade crossing elimination by use of over or underpasses of city streets (After all, the railroads were there before most cities were built & without them interstate commerce would put more trucks & buses on the highways..

SNCF in France is investing in over 800 double level commuter cars to use in regional commuter rail.. (This in addition to the TGV high speed intercity network of electric powered trains.

Posted on Mar 02, 10 at 12:34 am

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