Skip to main content

Burning the Midnight Oil

(Right: Liberty Line) The Steel Interstate proposal is an effort to build Rapid Electric Freight Rail Tollways across the country ~ east to west and north to south ~ to:

  • Take a substantial slice our of our oil imports
  • Insure our national economy and national defense against disruptions of our oil supply
  • Increase the productivity of our manufacturing and logistics sectors,
  • Overcome decades of neglect of our national electricity transmission infrastructure, and
  • Protect our legacy investment in our Interstate Highway system from the battering it receives at the hands of long haul trucks.

The point of the Steel Interstate system is that it is a system: it consists of several parts that work together to give more bang for the buck than any one could provide on its own.

Steel Interstates and Line Development Banks

There are multiple fundamental resources available to get caught up on the basic Steel Interstate concept. The Millenium Institute Report on the benefits available from a broad Steel Interstate program is written up in this Oil Drum post which is an excellent in depth introduction.

The RAIL Solution group promotes establishment of a trial corridor from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania through the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia through to Knoxville, Tennessee ~ incorporated into part of my "Liberty Line" proposal, above ~ and several pages on their site give useful introductions to various aspects of the concept.

The Steel Interstate Coalition is intended to be an umbrella organization pushing the concept, founded by RAIL Solution.

(Right: National Line) I know how much some people love national network maps. And I've sketched out what I think of as a plausible national network map, based primarily on existing STRACNET (Dept. of Defense designated STrategic RAil Corridor NETwork rail corridors) lines and focusing on existing long haul truck freight flows.

But I would, of course, far prefer that Steel Interstates are established without every using my map than to get agreement on my maps for a system that is never implemented.

The point is more to sort out freight corridors in a general sense that can be given to specific "Line Development Banks" to develop.

A Line Development Bank is established along the same lines as a federal/state "Regional Development Bank", as a public not for profit corporation operating under a board nominated by Federal and appropriate State governments. The finance for a Line Development Bank will be some dedicated source of interest subsidy for bonds (or other instruments) to be issued by the Bank to fund the start of construction. Then the capital cost of the construction will be refunded by user and access fees on the corridor.

(Right: Heartland Line) This system avoids "putting all our eggs in one basket" by establishing four distinct Line Development Banks. The Federal Government, as source of the interest subsidy, would establish the common design envelope, and ensure that rail operators can move seamlessly from one Steel Interstate to another when they meet at a junction.

You Catch More Bees With Honey ...

A critical element of the Steel Interstate system is that the Steel Interstates will be built primarily on privately owned right of way. Indeed, one reason why I would not insist on my maps being the "right" maps is that the intention here is to operate in cooperation with the private rail operators.

After all, if the system is to be successful in eliminating 7% or more of our oil consumption, and therefore 10% or more of our oil imports, it will be because the private freight operators have successfully won that business.  So it would be the responsibility of the Line Development Banks to enter into negotiations with the owners of the various corridors that can be used to connect the markets they are charged with connecting.

There would be four different types of infrastructure owned by the Line Development Banks. The first would be electrification infrastructure available for use by trains on the existing private track in the corridor. The second would be dedicated Express Freight Rail paths consisting of higher speed express freight tracks and overhead electrification, balanced for heavy freight rail travel at 60mph and permitting light freight rail movements at 100mph.

The third type of infrastructure is the Positive Train Control signaling system required for safe operation of the Rapid Freight Rail service.

The fourth type of infrastructure would be Ultra High Voltage Direct Current power lines, strung above the rail power supply lines, to provide Electricity Superhighways connecting important renewable power resource areas with important power consuming areas.

So, what are the benefits to the private rail operators? First, private railroads are capital intensive operations, and are exposed to the risk of economic downturns undermining the revenues required to service the financing of capital improvements. This system takes that burden off their hands. They will still own (and be responsible for) the main heavy freight networks that are the core of the bulk freight markets that they now dominate.

However, if it is useful, they can switch from diesel to electric locomotives on those lines by paying a User Fee for the overhead infrastructure. It is a public good if they do that, so we make it available to them on no-risk terms: use it when its a benefit, otherwise don't. We would expect that its in return for having that no-risk choice available that they will grant an easement for the construction of that publicly infrastructure.

And if they wish to run on the Express Freight tracks, they will pay Track Access Fees for doing so ~ given the economics of track maintenance, probably at a different rate for trains of different maximum weight. That is, again, a no-risk choice: they can continue to run as they presently do on their present track for any train where the opportunity of running on the Express Freight tracks is not worth the track access fee, but still have the extra capacity available for use where it is of benefit.


The Passenger Rail Side-Effect

(Right: Gulf and Altantic Line) These lines are laid out to serve major long-haul truck freight markets. However, the establishment of electrified Express Freight rail corridors also allows for the establishment of Amtrak-style long-haul services that operate at 110mph max, 60mph~80mph trip speeds rather than 79mph max, 35mph~55mph trip speeds.

Further, since the services would be operating on systems designed to allow for high-reliability rapid freight rail service, they would be able to offer substantially higher reliability passenger rail service than the current Amtrak long haul services running primarily on heavy bulk freight rail corridors.

Long haul passenger services are not primarily "end to end" services at present: even though a service may run for several days, the average trip is six hours long. This upgrade in speed for the portions that can run on Steel Interstates means an increase in demand for the services. It also an increase in the availability of passenger cars to cater to that increase in demand, since the quicker transit time means that the same cars can run more routes in a given week.

And it also means a decrease in costs per passenger mile. The labor costs of staffing the long haul trains are paid by the hour, rather than by the mile, so even at the same staffing levels, faster trains mean lower costs per mile. And the cost to power the electric locomotives from overhead electrical supply is lower than the cost to power the diesel locomotives today.

The absence of a Steel Interstate for some or all of an existing Amtrak heavy rail corridor does not imply that the heavy rail corridor should be closed. But there is a strong benefit in using a Steel Interstate for then rural and emergency back-up transport services provided by the long-haul corridors wherever there is a Steel Interstate available.


A Steel Interstate is More Than The Sum of Its Parts

"If it makes so much sense, why don't the private railroads do it today?"

Why is it that freight rail focuses so much on bulky, low-value per ton freight in the first place? We heavily cross-subsidize freight trucking in this country, by charging truck freight substantially less in diesel highway taxes than the damage that they cause to the Interstate, National, State, County and Township highways that they travel on. Those subsidies squeeze trains out of a substantial range of markets that they might compete successfully in, given a more level playing field.

Indeed, we impose property taxes on private freight rail corridors while truck freight runs primarily on tax-free publicly owned right of way.

So its natural that freight railways focus on those freight markets where their competitive advantages are so strong that they overcome the heavy subsidy granted to freight trucking. And that focuses railroads on moving freight for the lowest cost per ton mile that they can get away with. And that cost focus implies running routes for minimum operating cost, rather than to meet transit time or reliable time of delivery targets.

The principle advantage of regular and rapid electric freight rail in competing for energy wasting truck freight markets is in long haul markets. But you can't expand into long haul markets in small, incremental steps: unlike a High Speed Rail passenger corridor, a "long haul freight" corridor of two or three hundred miles is simply too short to have a substantial market impact.

Yet carrying the financial exposure of financing a one or two thousand mile long Steel Interstate corridor presents a private railroad with a major business risk, if there should be a recession in the middle of the construction of the corridor and the railroad cannot afford the finance during the construction period.

And many of the benefits of the system ~ reducing damage to Interstate, National and State highways, increasing economic resilience in the face of an oil price shock, reducing the ongoing drain of paying for oil imports ~ are not benefits to the private railways. Because of the competitive advantages of having a Steel Interstate system available, we can be confident it will be used if made available.

But no market is able to design a complex system on its own, so if we want to gain these benefits, and this system is beyond the reach of individual private railroads, then we need to intervene to bring the system into existence.


And Brawny Recovery

Our last two GDP recoveries have been Wall Street "casino finance" based recoveries. And building a GDP recovery on the back of casino finance is trying to build our economic house on a foundation of sand.

The idea of a Brawny Recovery is to try something that we did more of back in the 1950's and 1960's: building our recoveries on the back of spending that lays a foundation for further income growth. That is, a GDP recovery that actually builds the economic muscles of our society.

And the Steel Interstate system is an opportunity to get back to doing that. The Millenium Institute system was a full system cost of $475b, including the Electricity Superhighway, so divided between four Line Development Banks would be about $120b worth of works each. At 3% to 5% interest rates, a $2b interest subsidy is about $40b to $60b in capital funding, which would be sufficient to get a substantial line up and going and start the process of generating Access and User fees to complete the system.

So with a dedicated $2b/yr, a Line Development Bank can be launched and can proceed with $40b to $60b in works. Four Line Development Banks, with $8b in interest subsidy, could proceed with $160b to $240b in capital works.

What makes this a Brawny Recovery Strategy is that as usable segments are completed and start to be used, the rail operators will invest in more rolling stock and expand their container terminal facilities to take advantage of their new market position. And as the Electricity Superhighways are completed, that supports investment in wind turbines for wind farms and other renewable energy resources, further increasing private investment.

The investment in the Steel Interstates is itself a public/private partnership, with the public side providing the security of interest subsidy and the private side refunding the original capital cost of the construction. But it is also part of a broader public/private partnership, in which public development of infrastructure leads to further useful private investment in real productive capacity.


Midnight Oil ~ Truganini

Originally posted to Sunday Train on Sun Jul 03, 2011 at 05:30 PM PDT.

Also republished by Climate Hawks and Community Spotlight.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Thanks for a hopeful diary, Bruce. This (19+ / 0-)

    is a cool breeze of sanity blowing in through the summer heat that is banked up against all our open windows.  And thanks for using the term brawny.

  •  Shows the emptiness of "Drill, baby, drill." (14+ / 0-)

    The Republicans talk about ensuring the country's energy independence; but when it comes to concrete steps that reduce consumption (and traffic congestion. And pollution), they are nowhere to be found. It shows that they're more concerned about the oil companies' well-being than the country's.

    Greg McKendry, Linda Kraeger, Dr. George Tiller, Steven Johns. Victims of Wingnut violence

    by Judge Moonbox on Sun Jul 03, 2011 at 07:15:28 PM PDT

  •  so nice to read of solutions rather than only (7+ / 0-)

    problems.

    A good way to finish reading for the day.

    "Don't fall or we both go." Derek Hersey 1957-1993

    by ban nock on Sun Jul 03, 2011 at 08:53:05 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for the information. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BruceMcF, JanL, kj in missouri, Prairie D
  •  Thanks Bruce..... (9+ / 0-)

      ...though I am now retired from the RR, I always like Sunday Trains!

    Compost for a greener planet.............got piles?

    by Hoghead99 on Mon Jul 04, 2011 at 05:39:32 AM PDT

  •  Okay.... (4+ / 0-)
    •Take a substantial slice our of our oil imports
    •Insure our national economy and national defense against disruptions of our oil supply
    • Increase the productivity of our manufacturing and logistics sectors,
    •Overcome decades of neglect of our national electricity transmission infrastructure, and
    •Protect our legacy investment in our Interstate Highway system from the battering it receives at the hands of long haul trucks.

    All of that makes sense - which is why I have severe doubts it will ever happen given the political realities in this country today. What you're calling for here isn't rocket science - but America as of July 8 won't be capable of rocket science in any case.

       It's a wonderful engineering solution to problems that are largely political in nature - but engineering is easy compared to politics, and without answers to those problems, I can't see it happening.

    We thought we had the answer in 2008. Not yet.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Mon Jul 04, 2011 at 05:56:09 AM PDT

    •  We thought we had the answer in 2008? (10+ / 0-)

      I certainly didn't. I argued then, and still argue, that building a progressive change coalition ~ a real coalition, not collecting a smattering of the usual suspects ~ is "the answer".

      I would also strongly disagree that its nothing but an engineering solution to problems that are largely political in nature. I only focus on one policy dimension here, but what I focus on in this diary is not the engineering solution, but rather the institutional solution.

      The problem, after all, is not primarily an engineering problem. The engineering problems for this transport system have been long since solved. The problem is institutional: we built institutions in the 30's through 50's for an oil exporting country with a largely urban population and in the process became an oil importing country with a largely suburban population, and in the process those institutions are grossly outmoded.

      Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

      by BruceMcF on Mon Jul 04, 2011 at 06:48:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  brilliant and concise, as usual, Bruce (5+ / 0-)
        The problem, after all, is not primarily an engineering problem. The engineering problems for this transport system have been long since solved. The problem is institutional: we built institutions in the 30's through 50's for an oil exporting country with a largely urban population and in the process became an oil importing country with a largely suburban population, and in the process those institutions are grossly outmoded.

        "From single strands of light we build our webs." ~kj

        by kj in missouri on Mon Jul 04, 2011 at 07:19:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The problem is the public-private partnership (0+ / 0-)

        There is an entire political party dedicated to attacking anything that smacks of the idea of 'public' in any way, shape, or form. The knee-jerk reaction to this would be along the lines of "the government shouldn't be trying to pick winners and losers" and so on. Their attitude would be that if it's such a good thing, the 'free markets' will make it happen without the taint of government action. And the more sense the idea makes, the harder thy'll fight it.

        It has nothing to do with logic or reasonableness. It has nothing to do with the benefits that would follow from it. It's all about removing 'public' considerations from debate; it's about making public totally subservient to private interests. They're not interested in conserving oil, incraasing productivity or any of that unless you can convince them it strengthens their grasp on power, because they don't give a damn about anything except their own interests.  If they don't see this doing that, they'll oppose it out of perverse self-interest, because they see their self-interest best-served by constantly diminishing the public sector.

        We have politicians now who are turning down large sums of federal money that would put people to work, build infrastructure and pump up the economy. They're not rejecting it on rational grounds, but out of pure ideology. We're still waiting to see any kind of effective opposition to this belief system, because the people pushing it are doing just fine for themselves, thank you - and the rest seem to be fixated on finding common ground with them.

        At this point, if the country doesn't go into default, I'll be surprised. The kind of cooperation it would take to pull this proposal off is something our society seems to have forgotten how to do.

        "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

        by xaxnar on Mon Jul 04, 2011 at 04:07:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, as with any sane policy ... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          xaxnar

          ... to avoid the collapse of the US economy further toward Banana Republican status, this requires a political fight.

          I believe and will argue, that if the opponents of Banana Republicanism want to defeat Banana Republicanism, we need good, sound policies. But I have never said, and would never argue, that good policies on their own is sufficient. Once we have a collection of good policies to pursue, we have to organize the political fight required to win some victories against this ongoing and fundamentally treasonous sabotage of our nation's economic future, which is, after all, the foundation of our national defense.

          Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

          by BruceMcF on Mon Jul 04, 2011 at 06:51:33 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  The brains want the brawny recovery. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BruceMcF, Judge Moonbox

    . . . from Julie, Julia. "Oh, well. Boo-hoo. Now what?"

    by 88kathy on Mon Jul 04, 2011 at 09:39:12 AM PDT

  •  build them all (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BruceMcF, Judge Moonbox, Prairie D

    Aside from the hundreds of thousands of jobs that would be created, many of them permanent, transporting freight by rail is more efficient that truck transportation by every measure.  It requires less land than the road system, less fuel per ton per mile than trucks, less machine per unit of cargo than trucks, and even diesel locomotives would generate less pollution than trucks.  All of this amounts to lower transportation prices and thus lower prices on the things we buy in the stores.  There's even such a thing as freight trams, demonstrating that there is a niche for short-range freight rail along well-defined and heavily-traveled routes, hearkening back to the days of industrial railways.

    Here's a map of Vermont's rail network in 1879, to show just how developed the country's rail transportation used to be, even in tiny Vermont which, in those days, was mostly farmland.  Yes, those would have been tiny trains by today's standards, but a single boxcar would still have carried as much as a semi, and they were the lifeblood of Vermont's farms, transporting Vermont's products to Boston's and New York's markets, and returning to carry everything that Vermonters bought from out of state.

    •  They have experimented with ... (4+ / 0-)

      ... freight sprinters in Germany, which are consists of a few to maybe nine flatcars with double headed diesel locomotives / container cars. They build up to longer trains by coupling and uncoupling, so they can run long trains and then split up into short trains that can be loaded/unloaded with container handlers from a simple siding.

      Switch them from diesel to hybrid diesel/electric, and you have an interesting part of the puzzle for the days when rail takes back a broader range of the freight market.

      Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

      by BruceMcF on Mon Jul 04, 2011 at 11:04:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  high volume & fixed destinations (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Prairie D

        That's the recipe for efficient rail transportation for all but the shortest trips.  The main Volkswagen factory complex in Germany actually has a dedicated privately-owned electric tram line that ships half-assembled cars between the various sub-assembly lines.  The thing is that the long distances in the US actually make a stronger case for greater investment in rail transportation because of the efficiencies.  Low volume and/or variable destinations will remain dominated by cars and trucks, so this ludicrous notion that the train Nazis are coming for your sedan, your pickup, or your big rig simply has no basis in fact.  This is even more clear when you understand that flatcars (or well cars) plus standard shipping containers allows large volumes of goods to be quickly and easily moved from ship, to train, to truck, and back again.  Each of them has their place, and problems arise from trying to make any of them do work for which they're not optimal.

        But patterns of settlement and development in the US, especially since the end of WWII, have been deliberately designed to be inefficient to serve with rail, and ironically economics (in addition to social policy, as well as the availability of land) was used to justify this.  As early as the 1920s, a pillar of Modernist architecture and urban planning, Le Corbusier explicitly argued in favor of car-oriented development on the grounds that the enormous demand for steel, rubber, petroleum, concrete, etc. that would come from a car (and a commute) for every single person in Europe would mean more jobs.

        •  By and large, variable destinations ... (0+ / 0-)

          ... over long hauls will be handled by hauling a container by truck to the origin railhead, then hauled to the destination railhead, then short hauled by truck to the final loading dock.

          However, the energy efficiency advantage of rail means that rail should not be restricted to just those tasks that are best suited to rail ~ and if we reduce the existing strong discrimination against rail so that its just mild discrimination against rail, it will not be restricted to those tasks that are best suited to rail.

          And after all, the freight tasks we are talking about fall into distinct categories partly because we have imposed those categories on them ~ there is a spread of freight tasks with some most suited to rail, some most suited to truck freight, and some lying at intermediate points in between.

          Consider that freight sprinter versus the same cargo that a train of eight freight sprinters would be carrying. Say they are different lengths, but an average of five freight cars apiece. A train of eight would be forty freight cars.

          And compare the efficiency of forming that train, running it along a Steel Interstate, and then splitting it up again (whether at the end of the Steel Interstate route or incrementally along the way), to the efficiency of the same freight carried cross country by forty long haul semis, the energy they would consume, the CO2 they would emit, and the damage they would do to the Interstate Highways that they run on along the way.

          Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

          by BruceMcF on Mon Jul 04, 2011 at 03:05:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  diesel/electric hybrid locomotives (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BruceMcF

        Bruce, correct me if I am wrong, but my understanding is that there is a crucial difference between diesel trucks and diesel locos. Diesel trucks run on diesel fuel, period. Diesel locos actually run on electric motors connected to the driving wheels with the diesel engine acting simply as a generator for the electric motors. In essence, diesel locos are already like the Chevy Volt. Thus to convert them for true hybrid operation would seem to be a simple matter of adding a pantograph and perhaps a transformer if the overhead power line was AC. This suggests that retrofitting our existing locomotive stock for electric running would be a relatively cheap and fast procedure.

        •  There are both ... (0+ / 0-)

          ... diesel-electrics and diesels. In the freight sprinters, they are diesel traction, not diesel generators for electric traction: indeed, they borrow substantially from truck traction, but of course being rail can haul substantially more rail cars.

          So for those in particular, a diesel-electric hybrid would be a bigger change than adding a pantograph and transformer.

          For the Steel Interstate, the big 33ton/axle diesel-electric locomotives don't have the same power to weight ratio as catenary electric locomotives, and you would be hauling that extra weight deadhead for a thousand miles or more ... so for a conventional train, it would normally make more sense to haul the train with electric locomotives along the Steel Interstate and swap locomotives to run out from under the wires.

          Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

          by BruceMcF on Mon Jul 04, 2011 at 06:40:43 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  So we should we subsidize Walmart's crap? (0+ / 0-)

    Union Pacific and CSX are doing a fine job as it is of moving Walmart's Prison-labor made crap inland from Charleston & San Pedro as it is.

    Why should we tax Americans to subsidize the People's Liberation Army and their Bentonville-based sales force?

    •  Because ... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Prairie D, BruceMcF

      we already do. A lot of Wal-Mart's profit comes from efficient use of logistics,  especially trucks which, as this diary points out, put far more wear on the highways than they pay in taxes. If we build out new rail capacity, it will make sense to also build out new data systems so that even the smallest shipper can achieve the sorts of efficiencies only available to the largest now.

      So this is a direct threat to Wal-Mart, when done right.

    •  I'm all for not subsidizing .... (0+ / 0-)

      ... Wal*Mart's crap at all. Given that we are already in large dollar amounts, I would at the very least wish to reduce the amount of subsidy while reducing the amount of public bads created as a side effect.

      This system would be reducing the existing subsidy to Wal*Mart's crap while reducing the negative impact of that freight.

      So I assume that "why should we subsidize Walmart's crap" is a statement of strong support for the Steel Interstate system versus the existing system of using income and sales taxes in urban area to maintain streets that generate gas taxes to maintain Interstate Highways for truck freight to batter.

      Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

      by BruceMcF on Mon Jul 04, 2011 at 03:14:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  i'm all for the idea, except... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BruceMcF

    after dealing with csx for 15 years i say fuck them. if it can be accomplished in a way that diminishes their domination i'm on board. otherwise, i see an inevitable repeat monopoly scenario.
    now, how can i parlay 35 years of transportation into a position to help?

    •  The way that CSX was lobbying ... (0+ / 0-)

      ... to do it was for the Federal government to subsidize their construction of a freight dedicated corridor with one or two passenger only tracks running next to the freight corridor.

      This approach would have the newly built infrastructure be publicly owned, and if CSX does not want that to happen on a CSX corridor that the Line Development Bank would rather use, then the Line Development Bank would have the flexibility to talk to Norfolk Southern line instead.

      Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

      by BruceMcF on Mon Jul 04, 2011 at 03:10:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  On helping ... (0+ / 0-)

      ... first step I'm aware of is clicking through on the Steel Interstate org in the article. They have how to help and how to join links in their site.

      Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

      by BruceMcF on Mon Jul 04, 2011 at 03:17:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  On helping (0+ / 0-)

      Clutch1, you can help us a great deal by signing on to support the North American Steel Interstate Coalition. We understand how difficult it is to deal with the Class 1s, but are exploring options all the same.  Please join with us.

  •  Good overview (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Prairie D

    of a way to take our country to a new level "for the 21st century" as Bill Clinton liked to say.

    Is not much of the cost of the Steel Interstate in land acquisition? Can the 19th century rail system be upgraded economically to support sophisticated modern trains? I would suggest using land the taxpayers already own: the median strips of the International Highway system. The result could be a truly Interstate-grade rail network.

    For example, Interstate 81, up the Shenandoah River valley, is a famous parade of heavy trucks. Imagine them off the highway and on trains.

    Suppose we place solar panels on towers over the train tracks, a continuous belt a hundred or so feet wide and thousands of miles long. The potential energy production is enormous. Probably far more than enough to power all the trains free forever.

    These same towers could support electric cables for the spine of an intelligent energy grid, distributing electric power to the cities along the Interstates.

    By the way, we built the Interstate highways without the national economic heart skipping a beat.

    I'm just sayin'  . . .

    They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations ... (2Timothy 4:4-5, New International Vsn.)

    by Two cents from Derwood on Mon Jul 04, 2011 at 01:53:08 PM PDT

  •  Thank you for your excellent diary. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BruceMcF

    It makes so much sense.  I enjoyed reading it.

  •  JOBS: This alone would be reason enough to get.. (0+ / 0-)

    ..attention focused on this new tech frontier:

    And Brawny Recovery

    Our last two GDP recoveries have been Wall Street "casino finance" based recoveries. And building a GDP recovery on the back of casino finance is trying to build our economic house on a foundation of sand.

    The idea of a Brawny Recovery is to try something that we did more of back in the 1950's and 1960's: building our recoveries on the back of spending that lays a foundation for further income growth. That is, a GDP recovery that actually builds the economic muscles of our society.


     ..a pitch that would rally support from all working Americans whose taxes bailed out wall street and got nothing in return.
    This time the brawny blue collars get a say in how out taxes are spent.

    Republicans keep mouthing the words "they want 'their' country back" -  Wow this could blow that two faced meme right out of the water. Maybe even recruit some teabag anti-wallstreet sentiment to the left side of this media war.

    Thx Bruce McF

    P.S. we need the modern high voltage electic grid for the future of renewables.
    Positive, constructive goals all around t'd &r'd with gratitude

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site