Transit Dispatches

Contributing bloggers discuss a variety of topics geared toward the transit and motorcoach sectors.

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May 18, 2011

Plans for national rail network splintered

by Dan Reichard

American transportation policy is hardly coherent anymore, with projects and policies taking off in different directions. 

Ever since the Obama Administration announced billions of dollars to upgrade or build a new passenger rail network, it created glee in some parts of the country and resistance in other parts.

Some projects appear to be going it alone, while others are begging for more help.

Who is leading the charge for a national network, or is it an everybody-for-themselves kind of effort?  It really is comical to see the sudden flurry of funds being made available ending up as parochial projects, with no vision of a network coming together.

In case you missed it...

Read our METRO blog, "Commuter transit effectiveness ranked as need only grows" here.

Dan Reichard

Honorary member, Business Member Board of Governors

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  • mike lehman[ May 18th, 2011 @ 3:59pm ]

    NEW HSR ADVOCACY: New York & Chicago HSR on facebook: new york & chicago hsr OR email:

  • Don Sullivan[ May 19th, 2011 @ 6:38am ]

    I agree with Dan. This high speed rail funding is a mess. It constitutes a drop in the bucket for of what a high speed rail system would really cost and it is doubtfull that it (the seed money) will be little more than wasted funding that would have been more wisely spent in support of mass transit (remember mass transit?) We are not Europe and trying to put European rail systems in the US is a bad idea. Sorry but high speed rail just can't compete with highways and air travel. The very successful Southwest Airlines just bought the very successful Air Tran for $1.2 billion! Do the math.

  • Lawrence Hughes[ May 19th, 2011 @ 9:03pm ]

    No one is leading the charge for a national transportation network, in large part because few people have a genuine interest in national mobility. The discussion is largely centered around Amtrak and other rail projects, yet the most ground transportation is by motorcoach. The rail-based initiatives generally duplicate transportation services already provided by for-profit carriers, and the outcome of spending will be to (1) improve comfort and (2) provide an additional option to people who already have transportation options. Meanwhile, the national transportation network served by motorcoaches has been shrinking dramatically, and large swaths of the country no longer have any ground transportation. Wouldn't national transportation policy be better served by thinking less about rail as a mode and instead focus on increasing mobility where none exists now?

  • Dave Riddle[ May 20th, 2011 @ 8:06pm ]

    Wisely applied, the HSR money recently made available benefits both current and future rail passenger service. No, we are not Europe, but we still need to move our people. With highways crumbling and becoming more congested and with airlines being the most fuel INefficient mode of travel, I seriously doubt if that's where our future mobility will come from....


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Heather Redfern

Public Information Manager, SEPTA

Marcia Ferranto

President/CEO, WTS International

Marcia Ferranto is President/CEO of WTS International.

Scott Belcher

President and CEO, Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America)

Joe Zavisca

Joe Zavisca is an independent consultant specializing in paratransit service.

Paul Mackie

Communications Director, Mobility Lab

Paul Mackie is communications director at Mobility Lab, a leading U.S. voice of “transportation demand management.”

Rob Taylo

Founder/CEO SinglePoint Communications

Rob Taylo is founder/CEO of SinglePoint Communications, an exclusive U.S. distributor of WiFi in Motion.

Joel Volinski

Director, National Center for Transit Research at CUTR/USF

Zack Shubkagel

Partner/Creative Director of Willoughby Design

Zack Shubkagel is partner and creative director for the San Francisco office of Willoughby Design, a strategic branding and design firm.

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