Evacuation problems make a compelling argument for high-speed train

Written by admin on September 1, 2008 – 3:00 pm -

Hurricane Gustav is a wake-up call to Congress. America needs to fund and implement an alternative and effective means of transportation.

Who can forget the images of cars backed up on I-10 as nervous residents flee the approaching storm? And how many air travelers are stranded in New Orleans now that the airport has closed?

In Europe, there’s an additional transportation option: modern trains capable of speeds of up to 180 miles per hour.

People lobby to have lines installed close enough to their homes to up their real estate values and diminish their commuting time, just not so close that they can hear the trains or feel their rumble. And mile for mile, they cause substantially less pollution than planes or cars.

The European Union enacted legislation last year that will require national rail systems to open up to operators from other countries by 2010. And, equally important, they will require train sets that are interoperable, unlike the old Orient Express that had to change engines are border crossings because of different rail gauges. Ultimately, there will be a pan-European high-speed train system.

Imagine what a difference a high-speed train could have made in New Orleans.

Karen Fawcett is president of Bonjour Paris.

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