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With a new administration in D.C., it's time to think outside of the box because passenger rail's survival just may depend on it

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Tackling the Headlines

NOTE: This is a new feature where I will dissect the fallout of the most noteworthy news events.


Obama Administration redirects HSR money from OH and WI
Thirteen states are now the beneficiaries of almost $2 billion in stimulus funds that were destined for Columbus and Madison all thanks to the voters electing two anti-rail governors last month. I have no sympathy for the governors-elect or the people who voted for them in the first place. Everybody knew that Kasich and Walker specifically campaigned against rail extension in their states but they swept them in anyway. The only people that I feel sorry for are the folks who tried their hardest to educate the voters on the facts of rail travel.

Talgo is now following through on its pledge to leave the Badger State since Mr. "No Train" Walker has now cost his state jobs and money. Both governors in waiting were moronic for even suggesting that stimulus funds be used for highways when the administration explictly stated that the money must be used for passenger rail! So, if they are dumb enough to sue the president for the lost money, then a pox on their executive mansions!

Virgin recommits to HSR in the U.S.
After over a year and a half of being out of the spotlight, Virgin Trains once again
expressed its interest in operating Florida's HSR route. It will be no easy task, given that Japan's JR Central expressed an interest almost a year ago to develop and operate the 84-mile route, SNCF last year drew up a detailed plan for the Sunshine State, and the Chinese are on everyone's heels with their own plans for Florida. But I do think that Branson's entrepreneurial spirit will make it a lot of fun for anyone who likes to see private involvement in rail.

Meanwhile, 3,000 miles to the west, Branson thinks that having a Las Vegas-Los Angeles train would be
"great." Hmm, maybe he's looking at the Desert Lightning, which would also have an L.A.-Phoenix route as well as a Vegas to Phoenix route. If not, he could easily be the sixth hopeful to propose and eventually develop a route between the City of Lights and the City of Angels.

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