Monday, January 26, 2009

Senator Gillibrand endorses high-speed rail

The Observer reports:

When asked about her meeting with the state leaders, Gillibrand said, "We talked a lot about the economy" and that "one area we all agreed on was that we really want high-speed rail."

She said it was unclear whether they could secure funding for it in the latest economic stimulus package coming out of Washington, but said it was pivotal. "Because if you want to get economic development in this state, and around this state, if you can have a high-speed rail straight up the 87 corridor all the way to Montreal and then straight across to Buffalo and ultimately back down in a triangle, what you’re going to do is create an economic development engine for decades."

1 comment:

Joby said...

I wrote the following message to her via her website (unfortunately they don't reply to emails from outside the 20th Congressional District) - - -

Senator Gillibrand,

Congratulations on your appointment!

I recently read that one area in where you will seek funding for New York is High-Speed Rail. I think High Speed Rail is essential to the future of this state. Real High Speed Rail. -- Not Acela Speeds mind you but TGV and Shinkansen Speeds of around 300mph. This was a pet project of Joe Bruno's I understand, yet it never progressed very much. Typically everyone thinks these are good projects but there's never any money for this.

I have a suggestion. Texas Governor Rick Perry once suggested building a super corridor - North-South in Texas to carry, highway, rail, internet, electricity, and oil. Why not do something along the same line? Create a state entity with the power of eminent domain to purchase land to carry electricity, rail and internet traffic. There are power companies who want to buy land to bring power to NYC and LI and after the Northeast Blackout of 2003, Congress has essentially made it much easier for these power companies to build the transmission systems they want. Why not funnel their efforts and money into purchasing the land needed for such a project. This will essentially remove the need for much public monies to build the Right-of-Way (ROW), all that would be needed once the ROW was established would be for the rail to be laid, a much easier task financially than the state bankrolling both the purchase of the ROW and the laying down of new rail. Since High Speed Rail will in all likelihood take up energy anyway it makes sense for it to be next to electrical transmission systems. New York is unique amongst the states because our population centers are largely centered along the route of the Erie Canal and the Hudson River, and is thus the best candidate for a full fledged European style High Speed Rail system. As long as we are building this super corridor, add internet transmission so that the whole state is linked via a so-called "fat pipe". Once Internet 2.0 comes online, New York will be ready.

Basically, Senator Gillibrand, I am asking you to be the 21st century's DeWitt Clinton and have the vision to help build the 21st Century equivalent of the Erie Canal. This will probably do more in the long term to reduce the carbon footprint of the whole state than anything else we can do. Imagine people being able to travel by train from Albany to NYC in less than one hour, or Albany to Buffalo in a little over an hour, or from Albany to Montreal in an hour.

That would simultaneously stimulate both the upstate and downstate economies and cut dependence on cars to travel these routes.

Your New Constituent,
Joby Jacob