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View Diary: Energize America coming to Congress. You can help (138 comments)

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  •  Passenger Railroad (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Xan, NoMoreLies, neroden, A Siegel, netguyct

    There is no way political, economically, or structurally for the plan - as currently written - can come into being.  It ignores the historical and economic realities of the private railroads that own the trackage.  And it requires far more than a few selected routes to be politically viable.

    I promised to write on this - and I will this weekend - after 4 on Friday.

    •  Look forward to your thoughts/expertise (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Xan

      to advance the discussion re railroads.

      Certainly know that rail is not my forte / strength.

      Blogging regularly at Ecotality Blog for a Sustainable Future.

      by A Siegel on Thu Feb 08, 2007 at 09:32:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Railroads, not trucks (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Xan, A Siegel, AshesAllFallDown

      I have had the chance to review the Energize America final draft and disagree with its proposals for increasing the size and weight limits of trucks. This type of proposal neglects the fact that this will further degrade road infrastructure and add immensely to road maintenance and construction costs.

      Rebuilding roads to allow for these new trucks is extremely expensive and costs up to 4 times per lane mile as installing/upgrading railroad trackage to class 4 (60 mph freight trains). Furthermore, the injuries to the environment from large highways (runoff, road salt, etc.) are nearly absent  from railroad tracks.

      Furthermore, encouragement of large trucks increases the chance of crashes, injuries and fatalities, particularly here in the Upper Midwest, where weather related conditions make large rigs vulnerable to jackknifing and virtually undriveable. Trains are affected little by the run of the mill snowfall; trucks are greatly affected.

      A far better way is to invest further in freight railines. Per ton-mile, trains are 3 or more times more efficient than trucks, so public-private investment in rail infrastructure will have a far greater bang for the buck than will be mandating larger truck sizes and fuel efficiency. And this is given current locomotive technology. We need to emphasize that the majority of long haul freight needs to go on trains for maximum efficiency. Trucks should only haul special loads or local deliveries from intermodal facilities served by rail. We do not need mega trucks for these purposes.

      Additionally, improving freight rail infrastructure has the potential side benefit of freeing up/improving passenger rail infrastructure, and minimizing the passenger/freight rail conflict.

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