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Friday, August 13, 2010


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IIRC, that ICE crash resulted from a wheel failure, so while it was a major event, it shouldn't say anything about mixing freight and passenger service.

Wendell Cox, a policy and demographics consultant here in St. Louis, states that to make rail travel work in the Midwest, you need 2 things: 1) cities with dense urban cores that 2) are less then 300 miles apart. While some of our largest cities are within 300 miles of their neighbors of similar size, Chicago is the only city in our region that has a truly dense core. Germany is about the size of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois together. Germany's density is 593/sq mile while Ohio's is 256, Indiana's is 170, and Illinois' is 223. Germany is over twice as dense as the eastern Midwest. There are bigger questions I want to raise, however. 1) Why would we spend an enormous amount of money on high-speed rail when we have excellent airports and excellent highways? 2) Why would any city other than Chicago want to subsidize tourism to Chicago? This is what is happening now. People go to Chicago for shopping trips when we'd rather they spend their money at home. 3) How can the real cost of high speed rail be cheaper than flying or driving? I know we spend a lot on highways, but we already use those for commuting, and we all have to have cars anyway. Don't get me wrong, I love train travel, but I just don't see how we would benefit economically.

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