Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Transit in the US

One of the good things about the Obama administration in the US is their commitment to transit and rail funding. In Obama's State of the Union address, he reaffirmed his commitment to rail infrastructure investments.
Within 25 years, our goal is to give 80 percent of Americans access to high-speed rail. (Applause.) This could allow you to go places in half the time it takes to travel by car. For some trips, it will be faster than flying –- without the pat-down. (Laughter and applause.) As we speak, routes in California and the Midwest are already underway.
The 2012 budget provides for $8 billion in 2012 and $53 billion over six years to improve passenger rail service with the goal of giving 80 percent of Americans access to passenger rail in the next 25 years. The budget also includes $22 billion for transit through the Federal Transit Administration in 2012 which is double the 2011 amount. I should note that they are spending $70 billion on roads which is still  where 75% of federal transportation infrastructure dollars go. It would be good to see this percentage more balanced.

It's too bad that in Canada we don't have this kind of predictable commitment to transit at a federal level.


Anonymous said...

The US won't reach that 80% goal in 25 years because there will be too many changes in residents at the White House.

China may have that many miles of high speed rail within 10 years. Their human rights record sucks and the country is home to some horrible toxic waste dumps, but when it comes to preparing for massive shortages of fossil fuels they're taking action while the oil barons of Alberta and Texas do everything in their power to convince the rest of us that there's nothing to worry about.

The sultans and sheiks of the Middle East know the gravy train is about to reach the end of the line. They're using their current wealth to buy up thousands of European and North American businesses so that when the oil does stop flowing their descendants will have massive industrial and real estate empires to keep them in the manner to which they've become accustomed.

Sadly it's almost too late for Canada and the US to do anything meaningful. We are destined to be third rate countries choking on the fumes from the last drops of overpriced oil.

Nathan Pachal said...

I know it is really interesting to see. If China can get their environmental act together North America is likely to be a "has-been" place.