$8B for HSR? Well that is shorthand for the $8 Billion appropriation included within the ARRA '09, or Stimulus legislation, for the development of High Speed passenger rail service throughout the land. The enacted legislation provides that the funds will be allocated to the States in a "revenue sharing" model so that no region, especially the Northeast, will have a disproportionate share of the funding.
Many a state has submitted applications and to such extent that the funding will likely yield little benefit beyond throwing some "consultant feed" into the troughs at which they "chow down". That is the unfortunate thing.
While it is my firm conviction that there is a need for rail passenger service in the 21st century, that need is where there are people traveling "en masse', i.e. mass transportation, and in which addition to other facilities such as another four lanes to the NJ Turnpike or Garden State and a "twin span' for the George Washington Bridge, would be far more costly to both pocketbooks and society. Development of these Corridors need not be limited to the Northeast and Southern California, but being pragmatic, that is where the people are and where there is greater likelihood of passenger rail transport development obviating, or at least slowing down, the need for other more costly highway and airway infrastructure.
Projects such as Kansas has applied for to provide track improvements for a proposed Kansas City-Oklahoma City route (a continuation of the existing OKC-Ft Worth Heartland Flyer) have to be questioned. But then, volks, this is how the game is played - spread the largess about the land!!!
While that $8B could make meaningful improvements to the Northeast Corridor, and even to Southern California services, it appears that the $8B is going to end up a 'Bridge to Nowhere"; sorry such will likely be the case.
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