The federal stimulus bill has a lot of people talking about high-speed rail again because it includes $8 billion for such projects. The Secretary of Transportation says high-speed rail could be a "transformational issue" for the Obama Administration.
And one of the regions that supposedly will benefit is Upstate New York.
Great. We'd love to be able to hop a train in Rensselaer and be in NYC in less than two hours. But we're not ready to get our hopes us just yet.
But as the Syracuse Post-Standard points out, people have been pushing for upstate high-speed rail since the 1990s. And unlike California, it's not like New York has a plan ready to go. In fact, a state task force focused on high-speed rail just closed up.
And even if everyone was all like, "Yeah, let's do it!" -- there's the reality of actually, you know, building the thing. A feasibility study from the 1990s projected that building a high-speed rail system in New York would cost about $12 billion in today's dollars, not counting the cost of new stations -- that's a lot of money to come up with as the state stares at a grim budget situation. And even if we somehow came up with the money, that now-closed state task force concluded such a system couldn't be in place until 2025.
map: US DOT / found by NPR
The Bottom Line
High-speed rail sounds like a great idea. But it's going to be expensive and take a long time to build.
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