Worn out? Tired of being pressured to sign in and pay for articles posted on the websites of established, respectable news organizations? Let ratpag be the answer to your problems.
Today we have a rundown of a few non-California high speed rail stories from around the country. Our first comes to us from the great state of Illinois as the state moved closer – “102 million steps closer, in fact [that made us think of this], as Illinois Governor Pat Quinn announced a $102 million investment by the state” to improve railways that could be used for high speed rail.
The money will go towards improvements along the Chicago-St. Louis corridor and will be used, in part, “to construct a new bridge and double track” – improvements that will “enhance safety and capacity and boost speed on parts of the line from 79 mph to about 110 mph.” ratpag loves to complain. Our only complaint about this is the top speed of 110 mph. Baby steps, we suppose.
The higher speed will presumably cut about an hour off the usual travel time now to make travel by high speed rail compare “favorably with travel by car (almost 5 hours at non-peak times).” Though ratpag hasn’t made the Chicago to St. Louis trip by car we have driven in, out, and around Chicago and can only presume that such a trip between the two cities is shitty, at best, by car. So, once again, rail will be the better choice.
Our next story comes to us from the great cities of Baltimore and Washington as some group of wealthy people has allegedly lined up $5 billion to connect the cities by…a maglev train. Now ratpag is a bit leery about maglev from past experience but if some wealthy industrialists want to put forth the money for “super-speed trains [that] travel at more than 300 miles per hour and could get passengers from Washington to Baltimore in just 15 minutes,” well, we can’t argue with that.
We read a bit more and saw that such a project would cost at least $10 billion and that they would need to get the “government to finance more than half the deal.” Hmmm… That is a little bit less of a sweet deal. It’d be cool if this was something that could be integrated into already-existing infrastructure. It’s not that we’re against new things, it’s just that we question the public’s willingness to fund such things when it’s already such a struggle to fund even little patches of high speed rail here or there. Hey, what the hell, let’s see it happen!
Our last story comes to us from the great state of Texas where high speed rail is “gaining momentum.” Sounds promising. Apparently there are all sorts of potential high speed lines being considered in Texas – Dallas to Fort Worth, Fort Worth to Austin, Houston to Dallas – with the latter “possibly opening in roughly seven years.” Who knew? Not ratpag (and, therefore, not you!).
A commission, originally set up for investigating the Dallas-Fort Worth connection, has clearly guzzled the high speed rail Kool Aid and has also thrown out the ideas for other lines “that would run the I-35 corridor, possibly connecting Oklahoma City to Austin, San Antonio and even Monterrey, Mexico.” Let ratpag be the first to say that we endorse your efforts.
The article goes on with something about money or whatever but what’s really important is that the idea is out there and, much like alcoholism or nicotine addiction, you never really shake the urge to find some way to satisfy your (high speed rail) fix, no matter how damaging it is to your loved ones and personal health.
So kudos, Texas. We look forward to your 220 mph trains in the not-so-distant future.