Tag Archive: Living Energy Independence

Sunday Train: The Texas Wishbone Regional High Speed Rail

Burning the Midnight Oil for Living Energy Independence

Back in the 90’s, Texas tried to get an Express HSR system off the ground (that is, a bullet train system somewhere in the 125mph to 220mph range) with the “Texas Triangle” project. It was to be an entirely privately funded project. Not surprisingly, competing against the heavily  publicly subsidized interstate highway and air travel systems, it did not get off the ground.

More recently, the Texas T-Bone was proposed, based on the Dallas to San Antonio leg of the Triangle and a route from Houston to Temple, then running north to Dallas with connections south to Austin and San Antonio.

While the Texas T-Bone seems to be the current plan of the Texas High Speed Rail and Transportation Corporation, this is more of an advocacy group than an official HSR Commission or Rail Development Commission.

Given that we are in between periods of substantial federal funding for High Speed Rail, I thought this might be a good time to take a look at the prospects for Regional HSR, in some of the existing rail corridors within the “Texas Triangle” region … and so arrived at the Texas Wishbone.

Sunday Train: Pushing for a Rapid Rail HSR Station in Ravenna, Ohio

Burning the Midnight Oil for Living Energy Independence

OK, now, thanks to John Kasich, we are not going to get started on that Rapid Rail HSR network before 2015. Indeed, Democrats would probably have to take back one of the two Chambers of the State Legislature to be able to hit the ground running on getting that Rapid Rail HSR network going in 2015.

On the other hand, if you never lay the foundation, you always end up with an outcome you don’t like.

And I don’t like the way that the Ohio Hub connects to Summit and Portage Counties, so I want to work on how to get a station in Ravenna added to the Ohio Hub.

The reason its on the Sunday Train is threefold: maybe somebody can give me a great tip; maybe somebody can get an idea for something they can work on where they live; and its about making more sustainable transport options available to a medium city and a variety of inner and outer suburban landscapes.

Sunday Train: Republican Great Train Robberies

Burning the Midnight Oil for Living Energy Freedom

Two stories over the last week underlined the determination of the radical right wing that dominates the Republican Party to sabotage America’s future and betray our national security and the interests of our children and grandchildren:

Sunday Train: Chairman Mica to Cities ~ Screw You

Burning the Midnight Oil for Progressive Populism

Chairman Mica says:

this proposal maximizes the value of our available infrastructure funding through better leveraging, streamlining the project approval process, attracting private sector investment, and cutting the federal bureaucracy, … Most importantly, this six-year proposal provides the stability states need to plan major transportation improvements and create long-term jobs.

Decoding that, Chairman Mica is saying: “Screw You, Cities”.

And of course, a bit of “screw you countryside” too, since those votes can be taken for granted.

Sunday Train: Steel Interstates, Fast Freight, and Brawny Recovery

Burning the Midnight Oil

(Right: Liberty Line) The Steel Interstate proposal is an effort to build Rapid Electric Freight Rail Tollways across the country ~ east to west and north to south ~ to:

  • Take a substantial slice our of our oil imports
  • Insure our national economy and national defense against disruptions of our oil supply
  • Increase the productivity of our manufacturing and logistics sectors,
  • Overcome decades of neglect of our national electricity transmission infrastructure, and
  • Protect our legacy investment in our Interstate Highway system from the battering it receives at the hands of long haul trucks.

The point of the Steel Interstate system is that it is a system: it consists of several parts that work together to give more bang for the buck than any one could provide on its own.

Sunday Train: Making a ‘national HSR plan’ into a National Network

Burning the Midnight Oil for Living Energy Independence

Way back before the Super Bowl, the White House had a series of exciting announcements, covered at The Transport Politic under the heading The White House Stakes Its Political Capital on a Massive Intercity Rail Plan.

That article is accompanied by the map reproduced here ~ and I stress that the map if Yonah Freemark’s work, not a map presented by the White House ~ of what a HSR system that rises to the “80% of Americans” target would look like.

And one reaction to that map is the same as the reaction to the designated DoT HSR corridors: how is that a national network? Its just bits and pieces.

How to fix this image problem, while also providing a substantial upgrade to the program, below the fold.

Sunday Train: Chairman Mica aims to block equipment Amtrak needs to expand

Burning the Midnight Oil for Living Energy Independence

The headline spin on House Chairman of the Transport Committee is that he is proposing to privatize the NEC to allow HSR to be built in this decade.

However, if you follow the money trail, while he proposes a process to do that, there is no funding proposed to do that. And without a funding stream for the federal share of anywhere from $40b to $100b to bring the NEC up to a state of good repair and then to make the improvements required, under current FRA regulations, to meet Mica’s modest speed targets … that part of it is not a real proposal yet.

The real proposal is to have talking points to use to object to any funding that gets out of the Senate to allow Amtrak to buy more equipment so it can expand the capacity and frequency to meet the steady increase in demand for its services.

Sunday Train: Fighting Economic Sabotage

Burning the Midnight Oil for Living Energy Independence

There was shocking news early this June about May economic performance: GDP growth in May was about the same as the average for the first quarter of 2011, and so employment growth was virtually stagnant, and indeed fell behind growth of the labor force.

What was shocking, of course, was that this was news to anybody. For anyone with the basics on how the economy works, it was obvious that economic growth would be sluggish.

Of course, the Republicans in Congress and the White House, both for their own reasons, completely missed the boat ~ the White House arguing if we ease off the accelerate and tap the brakes, but do it intelligently, that will eventually speed up the economy, and the Republicans insisting that, no, we have to slam on the brakes to fix things.

With such a broken political discussion, what can be done?

Sunday Train: A Brawny Recovery or Consumption-Led Growth?

… reprinted from about two years ago ~ June 2009 …



Burning the Midnight Oil for a Brawny Recovery

On Agent Orange, bonddad writes:

Among the most important of the rules Rosie laid down, in my opinion, is #12: Get the US consumer right and everything else will take care of itself.  The reason is fairly simple:  The U.S. consumer has the biggest balance sheet on the planet.  The U.S. consumer represents 70 percent of our GDP and about 18 percent of global GDP.

This is, however, following the entrenched habits of thought that got us into this mess in the first place. My reply, below the fold.

Sunday Train: Why We Fight

Burning the Midnight Oil for Living Energy Independence

“Why We Fight” is a common feature of propaganda in support of a war. Here, tonight, it is a double entendre. On tonight’s Sunday Train, in honor of Memorial Day tomorrow, with two wars launched in the past decade and still ongoing (though in one, “combat operations” by US forces have finished, so any fighting and dying is of the support and training type of fighting and dying), and another recently started up, what it means when we notice that “why we fight” has a simple answer: oil.

And also, politically, why we fight for Living Energy Independence, here on the Sunday Train.

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