Raleigh High Speed Rail: Moving Along

September, 28, 2011 , by Mark

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The US Department of Transportation awarded North Carolina and Virginia $48M on Tuesday to advance plans for a high speed rail connection between Raleigh and Richmond, VA. North Carolina will only get $4M of the total for "environmental and design work" to plan out the connection and construction process. According to the DOT, the travel time between Raleigh and Richmond resulting from the connection would take only 2 hours. 

Image: Southeast High Speed Rail Cooridor








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  • smitty
    09/28 01:00 PM

    A spirited driver can get there in 2.5 hours or less and doesn’t have to wait for a train or ground transportation on the far end.  This won’t sell as a time saver.

  • xyzzy
    09/28 03:49 PM

    The point isn’t Raleigh-Richmond in 2 hours; it’s Raleigh-Washington in 4 hours… a 50-50 proposition (at best) on I-95, unless you drive it in the middle of the night.

  • Stephen Allen
    09/28 04:04 PM

    The liberals need to get over it…we live in a CAR society! Here’s why..

    Suppose I jump on the “high speed rail” from Raleigh to Richmond.  Here are the steps and costs involved:
    1)I have to leave my house and drive to the train station.

    2) I have to pay to park my car. (2 days @$5 day = $10)

    3)I purchase a train ticket to Richmond. (? let’s be ultra conservative and say $25)

    4) Upon arriving In Richmond, I have to take a taxi to a rental car site. (?- say $7)

    5) I have to rent a car. $25 a day for 2 days =$50)

    6)I return the car to the rental site

    7) I now take a taxi from rental car site back to train depot ($7 for another taxi)

    8)I board train and arrive in Raleigh

    9) I pay for parking and drive back home.

    Approximate cost to take the “high speed rail” from Raleigh to Richmond—$97
    Approximate cost for me to just drive my car from Raleigh to Richmond—$35 based on 320 miles roundtrip =10 gallon of gas and 32mpg in four cyl car, equals 10galX$3.50gal=$35

    cost of avoiding the hassel of taking the train: PRICELESS!

  • uncwgirl77
    09/28 05:01 PM

    Stephen:

    1. Someone could live near the train station and walk there—-no fee for parking. Or, a friend could drop you off. Once again, no parking cost.

    2. A person could pass on the rental car and get around by other means. This would work really well in Washington, D.C. Who really wants to go to Richmond?

    3. You’ll save the cost of paying $25 plus dollars a day to park in D.C.

    4. While you are driving, I’ll be reading, napping, whatnot on the train.

    Just a wonder: Why aren’t you driving around a gas guzzler like the other non-liberal?

  • Steven W
    09/28 06:55 PM

    The reason I take the train to D.C. is because every time I drive there, figuring out where to store my car while I’m there is a total nightmare. You either have to pay through the nose to park at a separate location since it’s useless there, or keep reparking it every few hours, putting wear and tear on it needlessly each time. Obviously if you are not starting or ending anywhere near the train, you would choose a different option. The goal is not to replace airports and automobiles, but to provide another alternative to airport and highway congestion.

  • Aaron
    09/28 10:35 PM

    WHY WON’T CONSERVATIVES LET US HAVE ANYTHING.

  • james c
    09/28 11:24 PM

    Because conservatives don’t want to pay for things that will lose money over time.  They will subsidize the fare to get anyone to ride and it will lose NC money as long as it is in service.

  • Steven W
    09/28 11:32 PM

    Airports are massively subsidized too, except in the largest cities. But they are part of what makes the economy work as well as it does, and provide more transportation choices.

  • B Scribe
    09/29 10:01 AM

    I don’t understand why it’s going to Richmond. Maybe richmond is going to use half of the money to connect to DC. Richmond is okay but an NC to DC train at a reasonable (less than it would cost me to drive) price would be something I’d use.

  • Steven W
    09/29 10:07 AM

    Currently the high speed rail comes as far south as Washington D.C.  It will be further extended to Richmond before it is extended to Raleigh. You are correct there would be little value in a high speed service that doesn’t connect to anything bur Richmond.

  • Ron
    09/29 10:07 AM

    “WHY WON’T CONSERVATIVES LET US HAVE ANYTHING.”

    Because conservatives are stupid, greedy and selfish and have never provided anything of value to this country whatsoever.

  • GoRaleigh
    09/29 10:24 AM

    “Because conservatives are stupid, greedy and selfish and have never provided anything of value to this country whatsoever.”
    I assume you mean nothing other than jobs and tax revenue to fund the welfare state the nation currently enjoys.

  • N/A
    09/29 11:41 AM

    Ron,

    And democrats have provided value to this country? HA that is funny because Democrats like John Edwards, any of the Kennedys, and Baracj Obama have done sooo much for our country. Thanks for a good laugh this morning.  And I think you are misunderstanding conservatives for politicans in general

  • Hedgehog
    09/29 11:51 AM

    I have driven to and back from DC a lot of times and would love a break from the traffic!  The traffic starts to get bad from Richmond to DC.

  • Bill
    09/29 11:56 AM

    What jobs?  What tax revenue? That is a theory that hasn’t panned out.  That’s why Reagan and Bush Sr had to raise taxes.

    Look at job creation in the Clinton years and look at job creation since the Bush tax cuts.  Dems brought the state RTP and the university system.  Conservatives bring you what?  Nothing but the panic that the angry white male is becoming a minority and an attempt to protect the money they inherited from daddy.

  • Ron
    09/29 12:03 PM

    “I assume you mean nothing other than jobs and tax revenue to fund the welfare state the nation currently enjoys.”


    Except that is a total fabrication. Nice try though.

  • WILLNCSU
    09/29 12:55 PM

    Most business owners and wealthy people are conservative, create the majority of jobs and pay the majority of taxes in this country.  You are kidding yourself if you don’t get that.  Does this mean trickle down economics works?  Hell no.  They are creating low paying jobs and (non-business owner/CEO) salaries have been stagnant for a looooong time.  If you don’t understand why conservatives don’t want to pay for a train that they will not use then you are ignoring human nature and the reality of the situation.  Hell, I am a libertarian and all for a fast train to DC/NY/Boston.  We need better infrastructure and this is part of it.

  • james c
    09/29 01:21 PM

    Subsidizing infrastructure for trains in densely populated areas makes sense.  I might take the train to DC where they have a subway and nice mass transit system and because it is a pain having a car up there.  Do you think anyone from DC or Richmond would want to come to Raleigh on a train?  What would they do when they got here?  I can’t see how this helps our local economy enough to pay for the subsidy.

  • Brad Double-Dizzle
    09/29 01:45 PM

    Very happy to see this moving forward. Trying to stash your car somewhere in DC is awful. Richmond is a large population center, so having a stop there along the way makes sense. It pretty much follows the current Amtrak line (along I-95/85). The ultimate goal is to span from Atlanta to Boston with high speed rail.

    Every other developed country in the world has made rail a priority. It’s about time we did the same.

  • Tony Woodard
    09/29 03:30 PM

    Raleigh to DC, round-trip with one week advance purchase is around $125. It doesn’t really pay unless you are traveling alone.

  • Steven W
    09/29 03:33 PM

    It also costs about $30-40 per day to park your car in D.C., so the longer you stay, the more it pays to leave the car at home.

  • Bill
    09/29 04:23 PM

    “Do you think anyone from DC or Richmond would want to come to Raleigh on a train?  What would they do when they got here?”

    I see, because Raleigh has nothing to do.  They’d arrive at some downtown train station in the arts district and have to take a free hybrid bus to a downtown hotel, or a museum, or a restaurant, or an art gallery, or to Red Hat HQ, or a law firm, or the courthouse, or the convention center, or whatever development occurs because of the train station.

    I mean, how are they supposed to get to an Applebees, or to the mall?

  • Ruben
    09/29 08:08 PM

    high speed rail is a total WASTE of money….look at AMTRACK.. it is 90% underwritten by big gov’t (i.e. your tax money) and continues to lose money…

    Portland OR - light rail in the metro area lacks ridership and LOSES money every year….

    nope, light rail, high speed rail are big wasteful projects proposed by liberals and democrats to make the people think they are “doing” something for them….the only thing gov’t needs to do is “get out of the way”, IF. rail is needed the market, the private sector will decide….and since there are no private railways for passenger travel, high speed rail is obviously not needed….

  • Sluv
    09/29 09:09 PM

    Why is it so important that rail make money? Roads are are paid for with tax revenue and lose money. Airports and airlines are subsidized and lose money.

  • Steven W
    09/29 09:32 PM

    These high speed rail projects don’t need to be profitable because there are a great many positive externalities of well-placed transit. The answer to whether they are cost effective is a constantly shifting calculus, and depends a lot on how far into the future you care about in a specific situation. This corridor from D.C. to Raleigh was first designated in 1992 and will most likely be active for decades or centuries with technologies not yet conceived. The main thing is keep the corridors intact and contiguous until the time is right to construct specific infrastructure improvements between D.C. and Atlanta. That much seems prudent, as highway and airport congestion seems likely to continue increasing with increased economic economic activity across the globe.

  • Synaesthete
    09/29 10:31 PM

    ^ Right on.  Society rides on top of solid infrastructure and a diversity of solutions to common problems.  Human transportation is always going to be an issue, and we must hedge our bets by investing in every proven transportation technology we’ve got.  Big infrastructure transcends the temporal drama of republican vs. democrat.  We live in a modern society and one of the advantages is that we can all cooperate to create things for a common good.  Big infrastructure also transcends the infrastructure of modern business economics.  The marketplaces rides ON TOP of things like roads and rail.  Our economy allows for the grace of businesses rising and falling, but infrastructure depends on the continuity of government.  The concept of externalities is key here.  To think that all problems can be solved by businesses alone indicates a severe misunderstanding of the systematic nature of our society.  This kind of myopic thinking is the result of being way too caught up in the drama of left vs. right, and not seeing the forest for the trees.

    Furthermore, while the government is in charge of distributing tax dollars and forming managing bodies to oversee big infrastructure projects, the act of constructing and using infrastructure is carried out by businesses.  The materials, technology, and labor are almost entirely provided by business.  Is it remotely feasible to think that a business is going to come along and invest in something like rail whenever they won’t expect to sell a single ticket for another 10 years or more?  Where would they get the money to support their business until that time?  Can you imagine a world in which we didn’t carry out projects that take decades or more?

  • Synaesthete
    09/29 11:05 PM

    A note on debating.  Debates are like games such that there are certain rules, basis, immutable truths, or agreed upon constraints.  A debate without agreed upon constraints is utterly fruitless.  It’s like one team playing football and the other playing soccer without a referee, and you have a bunch of maniacs running around screaming “hand ball!” and then getting tackled to the ground.  It’s absurd.

  • The Notorious B.I.G.
    09/30 08:23 AM

    Dear Steeeevaan,

    You said “The liberals need to get over it…we live in a CAR society!”

    That’s EXACTLY why republicans are holding us back. What do you think cars do? What do you think we want to cut back on? EMISSIONS. That requires LESS(conserving…oops did I say that?) driving and in return reduces your carbon footprint. All I have to say is that most republicans probably don’t believe in global warming…but let me ask you this. REGARDLESS, if it is true or not, if it’s REALLY having an impact on our environment, then don’t you want to be safe and reduce pollution anyway?!

    WHERE’S YO HEAAAD AATTT?! (where’syohead-at) (where’syohead-at)

  • Steve
    09/30 10:22 PM

    FREEDOM is about driving where and when I want to..not some stupid high speed rail schedule…

  • Steve
    09/30 10:28 PM

    This site must be for a bunch of pollyanna millenials, who have been totally brainwashed by gov’t schools

  • Steve
    09/30 10:28 PM

    This site must be for a bunch of pollyanna millenials, who have been totally brainwashed by gov’t schools

  • ct
    10/01 10:55 AM

    Profitability has nothing to do with it. Last I looked, there were only two major airlines in this country that have not been in Chapter 11 at least once in the last 10 years—and one of those (American) probably should have—even though there is a massive net taxpayer flow into the FAA and airports around the nation.

    Last month I traveled to Washington for business on short notice. The American Airlines ticket on the way up (one way) was $450. The Amtrak ticket on the way back (one way) was $65. If reliable, frequent, four-hour train service were available between Raleigh and Washington, there would be ridership. There are 16 flights every weekday Raleigh-Reagan National, 5 to Dulles, and 9 to BWI.

  • me
    10/01 12:17 PM

    So what if it loses money?  How much would be ok?  $100 million a year?  I mean, if it doesnt matter, it doesnt matter, right?  with that skewed view of reality, you can imagine that one day we might be trillions of dollars in debt….....imagine!

  • Panda Balls
    10/01 01:36 PM

    As someone that has to make the drive to DC a lot, I would be so freekin happy to have a high speed rail line there. That is a terrible drive, a mix of white-knuckle driving between DC and Richmond when the traffic is flowing and sitting in a parking lot losing time when things aren’t. Anyone that has travelled in Europe or Asia knows how sweet high-speed rail can be.

  • ct
    10/01 03:21 PM

    Of course $100 million wouldn’t be ok. Every governmental expenditure must be assessed for appropriateness. I happen to be a budget hawk, and I also oppose higher taxes. But how the government spends its money is a fair question. I’d much rather have decent passenger train service in this country than have the Department of Defense spending $4 billion a month in Afghanistan, for example.

  • francesco zappa
    10/04 10:47 AM

    If we had developed our rail system instead of abandoning it like we did we would be a much stronger country for it. We wouldn’t need so many methed up truck drivers causing wrecks from coast to coast since that is how good are transported now. High speed rail is a no brainer. We need it, people would use it rather than drive. Not all, but enough, without question. Read the feasibility studies if you need confirmation.

    Hopefully this will become a reality before I am using a walker to get around town.

    Oh and, yes, wrecks do happen even in Germany and Japan, but they are extremely rare. Driving to DC is incredibly more dangerous than riding on a train. This is also a no brainer.

  • me
    10/04 08:55 PM

    Yes….but is it a no brainer?

  • smitty
    10/05 08:25 AM

    The Europe argument is specious.  People in Germany don’t ride the train because traffic is bad or because the train is fun or romantic.  They ride the train because gas is over $8 a gallon.

  • ct
    10/05 08:28 AM

    Yes, gas is high. But traffic is also a nightmare. Ever been on a bumper-to-bumper Autobahn creeping along at 5 mph on a road built for 100+? I have.

  • me
    10/06 05:21 AM

    Just out of curiosity…..what SHOULDNT the government be building???

  • ct
    10/06 07:10 AM

    Local: the Lightner building as currently designed! State: the new dental school at ECU. Federal:  aircraft carriers for the US Navy at $9 billion per ship. Lots of examples.

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