Tuesday Energy Blogging: Want high speed rail in AZ?

09 Feb 2010 10:05 pm
Posted by: Donna

From PIRG today:

Arizona PIRG Education Fund Releases New High Speed Rail Report

Calls on State of Arizona and ADOT to Follow Through on Commitment to High Speed Rail Funding & Development

Today the Arizona PIRG Education Fund released its new report The Right Track: Building a 21st Century High Speed Rail System for America which quantifies the benefits of high speed rail and sets recommendations for future investment.

Recently, the Obama administration announced that 31 states will receive a portion of $8 billion in funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to plan & build high speed rail. Arizona was not awarded any money in this most recent round of grants, although the state did receive $1 million from the Federal Railroad Administration in 2008 to begin design of a Phoenix-Tucson passenger rail line.

“A national network of fast, frequent and dependable trains is a critical tool for reinventing the nation’s economy. Our state has previously recognized the need to greatly improve our rail system and now needs to be committed to building off of the momentum provided by the Administration,” said Jesse Victor, Transportation Associate for the Arizona PIRG Education Fund.

The Arizona PIRG Education Fund report analyzes the potential of high speed rail in nine different regions, including the Southwest. According to data cited in the report:

• The completion of a national high-speed rail network will curb congestion by reducing car travel by 29 million trips and air travel by nearly 500,000 flights annually.
• The task of building out the nation’s high speed passenger rail network is estimated to generate up to 1.6 million construction jobs, providing a needed shot in the arm for America’s manufacturing sector.
• A national high speed rail network will reduce global warming pollution by 6 billion pounds, the equivalent of taking almost a half a million cars off the road.
“The Phoenix area light rail represents a great step our state has taken toward a 21st century transportation solution to reduce the amount of time we spend in traffic, create jobs, reduce our dependence on oil and the pollution we spew into the air. As a mode of public transportation that has already proven far more popular than was even expected, Arizona decision makers must remain committed to ensuring rail’s continued success and expansion throughout our state,” Victor stated.

The report concludes with public interest recommendations for how to spend high speed rail investments including the need to invest adequate resources, maximizing “bang for the buck,” assuring transparency, setting standards and measuring progress.

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The Right Track: Building a 21st Century High Speed Rail System for America can be downloaded at www.arizonapirg.org

The Right Track pdf

Some perspective: In the executive summary of that 77 page report, you’ll learn that China is spending $293 billion on high speed rail while the U.S. is spending a total of $10.5 billion. I’m looking forward to reading the whole thing tomorrow.

3 Comments

  1. Comment by Timmys Cat on February 10, 2010 3:20 pm

    Hahahahah!
    Phoenicians without a motor vehicle to cut cut me off?!
    “Eeeek! I’m late! I gotta get in front of you no matter what, but how did my fog lights look?”

    Thanks, rant off.

    I completely agree with you in princple, but I think the Phoenix infrastructure couldn’t handle it. I’m in downtown frequently and the closest heavy rail is probably owned by Southern/Pacific. Good luck with that.
    Light rail took out a numbr of buisnesses.

  2. Comment by Timmys Cat on February 10, 2010 3:28 pm

    Auugh! Spellcheck!

  3. Comment by Alan Scott on February 14, 2010 12:13 pm

    Donna,

    ” Some perspective: In the executive summary of that 77 page report, you’ll learn that China is spending $293 billion on high speed rail while the U.S. is spending a total of $10.5 billion. I’m looking forward to reading the whole thing tomorrow. ”

    On another topic you blasted the Chinese because of their capitalist pollution problems. You even said, I should move there. Do you now like them because of their trains ?

    Of course the difference between the Chinese and Obama is that the Chinese won’t have to borrow or print the money to build their toy trains.

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