Matthew's Foray into Blogging

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Why Not Rail?

I have thought before that some variety of rail system for moving people, such as commuter rail, light rail, or even maglev, connecting the major Texas cities would be ideal. During the Hurricane Rita evacuation, the possibility of rail in Texas came to mind again; it would have been a useful means of assisting in transporting people out of the hurricane’s path.

A passenger train between Houston, Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio, and maybe even to Lubbock and El Paso, would take a sizeable number of cars off the road, which is essential in these times of escalating oil and gas prices, possibly dwindling world oil supply, dependence on Middle East oil, and global warming (I’m with the camp that believes it’s happening). It would also be incredibly convenient not to have to make the tiresome three- and five-hour drives. College students could more easily make the occasional trip home on weekends, without exposing themselves to the risk of being involved in auto accidents (to which my sister can attest).

Gov. Rick Perry’s controversial Trans Texas Corridor, a network of new tollways, railways, and utility lines crisscrossing the State, with a price tag of at least $175 billion, includes a long-term projection of potential high-speed passenger rail. The commuter rail aspect would be nice, if it were to become a reality.

Such a rail system is probably not already in place due to the influence on government of the Big Three automakers, Ford, General Motors, and DaimlerChrysler, the airlines, and Big Oil . Anything that would result in fewer personal automobiles on the roads, less air travel, and reduced oil consumption would certainly meet stiff opposition from these industries.


  • Do you remember the "Bullet Train" idea? (fast train from Houston to Dallas through Austin to San Antonio and back to Houston) Southwest Airlines sued to prevent it from happening as they argued, it would cut into their profits and of course, the state wasn't subsidizing Southwest Airlines, so why should the state be allowed to subsidize the competition (rail)?

    By Blogger Ashley, at 7:04 PM, September 29, 2005  

  • You're right about the special interests. I also heard that back in the day, when the decisions were initially being made on whether to make this part of the country like the east coast (decent, prevalent public transport) or not, the tire companies also got in on the action.

    i'd really like to leave this hellhole state and live somewhere i don't have to own a car. that's my dream.

    By Blogger!, at 5:52 AM, October 01, 2005  

  • My brother's friend who went to school in Boston thought the rail system there was great, because he could go out, drink to the point of complete inebriation, and then ride the train home - no need to drive drunk!

    By Blogger Matthew, at 7:57 AM, October 01, 2005  

  • Every day at work, I dream of living in London. I have a friend in London who calls me every few days and tells me in his adorable London accent, how his commute to work was.

    I am with your friend in Boston. I would love to stumble home via decent, public transportation.

    I need to get out of this state, too.

    By Blogger Ashley, at 4:26 PM, October 01, 2005  

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