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E-M:/ "Quiet revolution" in short-haul rail



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Enviro-Mich message from sgutt@umich.edu
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Greetings,
There's a great article in the business section of today's NYT on the 
"quiet revolution" in high-speed, short-haul rail projects, both in Europe 
AND North America, even including the U.S.!  "At the heart of this new 
activity is a growing awareness among transportation planners that business 
travel demand in the United States is, at least, somewhat similar to 
Continental Europe, where a vast network of national high-speed train 
systems has nearly eliminated air trips between cities less than 400 miles 
apart."

Even the chief exec. of Greater Toronto's airport authority, who spoke 
yesterday in Florida at the Airport Summit, recommends the economics of 
using rail for short legs, leaving air travel for long-distance trips.  He 
points out the need to use airports as intermodal transportation points, 
linked with rail, "'and not just places to take off and land airplanes.'" 
(Detroit Metro's  brand new, sort-of state-of-the-art terminal doesn't even 
link to bus ground transportation, let alone connect to rail service!   Are 
we committed to visionless, choiceless transportation policy in Michigan, 
or what?)

The article also focuses on a 680 room "luxury high technology hotel" 
currently under construction at Frankfurt (Ger.) Airport's new AirRail 
Center.  The international hotel company's chief executive stated that he 
"would be interested to build this type of hotel at major U.S. airports."

Best quote in article:
In the United States, where Congress is quibbling about renewing an annual 
budget for Amtrak that would barely pay for a short stretch of Interstate 
highway or a single airport runway, serious advocates of intercity rail 
transport have to share both budget and podium with dewy-eyed romantics who 
want to funnel rail money into maintaining long-distance trains that some 
in the industry say merely subsidize "land cruises" for leisure travelers.

Read the entire article online at www.nytimes.com.  You need a password to 
view past the front page, but it's free.

Steve Gutterman





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