The President is, it seems, very keen on high-speed rail (HSR), it was announed today, because “Implementing HSR will promotes economic expansion (including new manufacturing jobs), create new choices for travelers in addition to flying or driving, reduce national dependence on oil, and foster urban and rural livable communities” Well, isn’t that nice. Makes you wonder why no one has thought of it before.
A quick look at the plan reveals it is a plan about a plan. The federal government is sitting on a nice pot of money from the stimulus act, and, if you can meet their qualifications (like ensuring you have jumped through or are planning to jump through the hoops of the National Environmental Protection Act), you might get your project included in the final National Rail Plan due in 2010/11. In my rail experience, I found that putting rail plans together normally meant that by the time they were issued, things had changed so much that you needed to put together a new rail plan. I can’t see how this will be any different.
I’ll try to put something together on the actual transportation merits of the plan, such as they are.