Will high-speed money train make a stop here?

amtrak engineThe Obama administration announced today its intent to spend "$53 billion over six years to continue construction of a national high-speed and intercity passenger rail network." The announcement is short on details about where this funding will be directed, but during the next fiscal year it says $8 billion will be focused on routes that fit one of these descriptions:

* Core Express: These corridors will form the backbone of the national high-speed rail system, with electrified trains traveling on dedicated tracks at speeds of 125-250 mph or higher.
* Regional: Crucial regional corridors with train speeds of 90-125 mph will see increases in trips and reductions in travel times, laying the foundation for future high-speed service.
* Emerging: Trains traveling at up to 90 mph will provide travelers in emerging rail corridors with access to the larger national high-speed and intercity passenger rail network.
This system will allow the Department - in partnership with states, freight rail, and private companies - to identify corridors for the construction of world-class high-speed rail, while raising speeds on existing rail lines and providing crucial planning and resources to communities who want to join the national high-speed rail network.

We're guessing Albany/New York City would probably fall in the "regional" category.

A planning/policy org recently ranked the Albany-NYC route as being among the top one percent of all routes in the nation with the most potential for high speed rail. (The route is already the fifth-most traveled in the Amtrak system.) The post here on AOA about that ranking prompted some interesting conversation -- including people who weren't necessarily sold that high-speed rail would be a good thing for the Capital Region.

Earlier on AOA:
+ Albany-NYC: strong potential for high-speed rail?
+ The slow line to high-speed rail
+ The best way to get from Albany to NYC?


I think the whole high speed boondoggle is largely a crock, but if they're going to do it anywhere, clearly Albany->NYC should be near the top of the list, its one of the most traveled routes, and one of the few profitable ones.

That said, Amtrak's constituency is congresscritters and voters, not train riders, so we'll probably waste billions on a train from LA to San Francisco nobody actually wants to ride because it appeals to the millions of people across CA instead of something that would actually be used....

Could a core route be NYC>Montreal with stops in Poughkeepsie and Albany?

We cut funding to passenger rail during the 50's, 60s, 70s, and 80's and spent spent spent to maintain a highway system that has no longer funding mechanism and the highway trust fund is BROKE. No one has the balls to raise the gas tax or implement a vehicle miles traveled tax and with MPGs going up the money for highways is only going down. So what do we do? Continue to build and invest in a transportation system that's sinking? Might as well get the Titanic off the ocean floor for transatlantic crossing.

Kudos to the Obama administration for making the hard choices and looking ahead beyond re-lection terms. High speed rail was needed 30 years ago. It's about time we got our act together.

I travel the Albany - NYC route often and thanks to the gps function on my blackberry the train always makes speeds of 115 mph just below Castleton, kind of too bad its not the whole length....

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