October 2017
M T W T F S S
« Sep    
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031  

Stay In Touch

Bloomberg to Meet with Rep. Mica on High Speed Rail Link

amtrak

Yesterday, the New York Sun reported that Mayor Bloomberg will be meeting with Rep. John Mica on Friday to discuss his proposal for a high speed rail link – or “rocket train” – between DC and NY, a bill we detailed last week (see ”New DC/NY High Speed Rail Link?” and “DC/NY High Speed Rail Legislation Advances in House.”) It’s no surprise that Senator Moynihan was an early proponent of the idea.

“It’s a little late in the game, but we need it,” the chairman of the political science department at Touro College, David Luchins, a longtime adviser to Senator Moynihan, said yesterday in an interview. “It’s important because of the cost of oil, its important because of the environment, and it would be great for the economy — I see no downside. It is the most economically sound way to move people from New York to Washington.”

Mr. Luchins also said that the job of generating political support could be eased by the disgruntlement of lawmakers who must deal with the rigors of shuttling between New York and Washington.

“The senator used to say you get one less day in purgatory for every day you have to spend on the shuttle,” Mr. Luchins said. As for the role of Amtrak:

A spokesman for Mr. Mica, Justin Harclerode, said Amtrak could participate but that the congressman envisions creating high-speed service that would be independent of existing commuter and freight lines, which would likely require new tunnels and ridding existing tracks of curves to facilitate speed.

On Tuesday, Bruce Reed, the president of the Democratic Leadership Council, and Paul Weinstein, chief operating officer of the Progressive Policy Institute, presented high-speed rail as the solution for air congestion in an editorial for Newsday.

That’s why the next president and the new Congress should commit to building five new high-speed rail corridors in the next 10 years. The corridors would be selected based on three key criteria: geography (the flatter the terrain, the faster the train); a high probability of use (densely populated corridors with significant levels of highway and airborne traffic); and a commitment by the private sector, states and localities to share in the cost of construction. Wherever possible, the high-speed rail corridors should connect to major air hubs.

Roads and airports have direct sources of financing – namely, taxes on gasoline and ticket purchases. If high-speed rail is going to become a reality, it will need a similarly robust stream of income. That’s why policymakers should establish a trust fund that would finance construction and maintenance. We could pay for this investment in a number of ways: carbon-offset purchases; a 4.3-cent diesel gas tax on the railroad industry that would raise about $200 million a year; ticket surcharges; and/or matching contributions from states served by the new rail lines. How this would impact Moynihan Station remains unclear.

Read “High-Speed Rail Solution for Chronic Sky Troubles,” by Bruce Reid and Paul Weinstein Jr. for Newsday

Read “Congress Eyes a Rocket Train to Washington,” by Peter Kiefer for The New York Sun