Should CSX build a new high speed rail , and how should it skirt Ashland, Virginia?
This is a big question that I believe deserves a lot of consideration, but lets start with a brief history lesson:
In 1956 a bill was signed by President Dwight Eisenhower that created a “National System of Interstate and Defense Highways” Eisenhower stated the need to eliminate unsafe roadways, inefficient routes and traffic jams, along with the need to permit quick evacuation of target areas, and that an elaborate expressway system was essential to national interest and security. For these reasons, the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 was created. Under the terms of this Act, the
Federal Government would pay for 90 percent of the cost of construction and allocated $26 billion, the remaining funds would come from an increase in gasoline tax (0.03) that went into a highway trust fund.
By 1960 people began to revolt against the unpleasant consequences, displaced people, communities sliced in half, abandonment and decay in city after city. During the 1960’s activists in New York, Baltimore, Washington DC and other cities managed to prevent construction from eviscerating their neighborhoods and these urban interstates or “roads to nowhere” still exist today.
According to Wikipedia
Interstate 95 (I-95) is the main Interstate Highway on the East Coast of the United States, running largely parallel to the Atlantic Ocean and U.S. Highway 1. I-95 is one of the oldest routes of the Interstate Highway System, The southern terminus of I-95 is at U.S. Route 1 (US 1) in Miami, Florida, while the northern terminus is at New Brunswick, Canada.
I-95 is the longest north–south Interstate, and passes through more states than any other Interstate Highway at 15 states, According to the U.S. Census Bureau, only five counties along the route are completely rural, while statistics provided by the I-95 Corridor Coalition suggest that the region served is “over three times more densely populated than the U.S. average and as densely settled as much of Western Europe” Parts of I-95 carry 200 to 300 thousand vehicles a day.
From CSX Website: www.csx.com
- Vision: To be the safest most progressive North American railroad, relentless in the pursuit of customer and employee excellence
- Purpose: To capitalize on the efficiency of rail transportation to serve America
- Core Values: At CSX we believe that living by a set of fundamental core values helps to define the true measure of a company. When all employees are aligned with fundamental guiding principles, companies consistently serve their customers and other stakeholders and deliver superior financial results that ensure long term success.
- Fact-Based: Use customer-based performance measures. Fix the problem, not its symptom. Improve performance with facts. Validate-don’t speculate.
- Right Results, Right Way: Reward our Shareholders. Be a positive influence on communities and the environment. How you get there matters. Avoid fault-fixing
So here are the facts:
- Out interstate system is antiquated. If a mass exodus was necessary along the north south corridor of Interstate 95, the shear volume would create one long parking lot along Interstate 95.
- People and /or groups of people can stop “progress” in the name of commonsense.
- Interstate 95 is one of the oldest and longest highways, it passes through more states then any other interstate and travels through the most densely populated areas in this country.
Although CSX strives to be safe and efficient, supportive of employees and shareholders, and be a positive influence on communities and the environment, I was unable to find any information on their web site about how they consider communities
and the environment, and how they assess when it is necessary to destroy such places.
What / Who gives CSX the power to destroy private property? The Greater Good? Please correct me if I am wrong, but I was told the new High Speed Rail would cut 15 minutes off of the travel time from DC to Richmond.. Really? All this for that? That does not sound like High speed rail.. Where is the new technology?
This problem of where the new High Speed Rail will go is not just Ashland’s problem. This IS a problem for all inhabitants along the north south corridor of the Eastern United States and IS a major infrastructure problem. Building a High Speed rail along the existing tracks with a bypass around Ashland is merely a band aid. CSX is already facing problems Including installing Government mandated “Positive Train Control” technology, designed to slow or stop trains before accidents occur, lagging coal shipment volume and a decline in stock values. A massive update of our interstate and rail systems is in desperate need. According to GoEuro (a travel search engine) The US ranks 19th out of 20 in ranking of high-speed rail networks by nation.
So, What do we do?
We learn from History. Automobiles as we know them will change, but they will still need roads of some sort to follow. There is some remarkable technology out there and if we can let go of the oil industry a bit, we can move into the 21st century a bit more gracefully. Check out these solar roadways: www.solarroadways.com, Think of the possibilities.! High Speed Rails? Well they should travel down the 1-95 corridor as well and should be as straight as possible, not curving around any little towns, I mean, we are talking HIGH SPEED Rails.!
So come on People… Government Officials.. where is your backbone? Lets spend a little less on foreign ground and a little more here at home..
let’s get er done!
Plans are nothing; planning is everything. Dwight D. Eisenhower