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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Off the tracks

Is "high hopes" like wishful thinking?

President Obama announced Thursday which states get part of $8 billion in high speed rail grants.

Of that money, Indiana received about $71.3 million to use for improvements in rail systems in the northwestern part of the state. While Fort Wayne is not seeing federal funding right now, supporters of a high speed rail system in the Summit City remain optimistic.

Geoff Paddock with the Northeast Indiana Passenger Rail Association says granting money to one segment of Indiana is a first step toward making progress in the Summit City.

[. . .]

"It's somewhat akin to the interstate highway system," Paddock said. "It took ten to twenty years to build interstate highways after money became available."

But the interstate highway system gained momentum because it was helping people do what they wanted to do, which was get in their cars and go where and when they wanted to. The high-speed-rail initiative is trying to force people into doing what they have not shown any inclination of doing, which is to herd into trains and go only where the tracks go when the train is scheduled.

And what will that $71.3 million get Hoosiers? The money will "relive congestion on a railroad strecth between Porter and the Indiana/Illinois state line:

The project will reduce train delays by 11.6 minutes per 100 train miles, according to one study.

Really hurtling toward the 22nd century, huh?


Bob G.
Fri, 01/29/2010 - 12:42pm

Nice to see great minds still think alike...heh.

You tackled the PEOPLE end of this, while I went on about the "technical" end of it...I think we need a GRANT for further research...LOL.
What say you?

tim zank
Fri, 01/29/2010 - 1:13pm

High speed rail is a huge economic black hole, not unlike most pie in the sky ideas brought to fruition by a misguided and horribly inefficient government. With the exception of large urban areas, (like NYC) trains are awkward and terribly inefficient for getting people to their desired destination.

It will always be infinitely easier, cheaper, and more convenient to fly or drive, and the claim that high speed rail is job builder is laughable.

Fri, 01/29/2010 - 4:23pm

More like hurtling toward the 19th century, and I'm from a railroading family.
Unless someone can figure out a way to get trains from one address to another address, rather than from one town to another, they will never be a major part of our transportation system.
Trains work well in other countries precisely because they don't have anything like our interstate highway system.
But I am a little surprised to here you praise the interstates. That's a socialist program, you know.

tim zank
Sat, 01/30/2010 - 10:39am

LittleJohn...The interstate system was a national defense system known as "National Interstate and Defense Highways Act of 1956", a rather "hawkish" program enacted by Ike, not even remotely a socialist program.