Rail is by far the cheapest and most fuel efficient

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Unformatted text preview: ities around transit stations – is one increasingly popular approach. A recent study found that doubling ridership on mass transit nationally could save 1.4 billion gallons of gasoline per year. 33 Longstanding federal subsidies for urban highway construction have contributed to the current mix of traffic congestion, driver unhappiness and oil consumption. Ironically, repeated experiences in major U.S. cities demonstrate that building more roads fails to solve traffic congestion. One expert summed it up by saying: “Trying to cure traffic congestion by building more roads is like trying to cure obesity by loosening your belt.” 34 The most recent federal highway bill, passed in August 2005, provides four times more funding for highways than mass transit. 35 39 | P a g e Mass Transit Negative BDL Russian Oil Links [____] Federal support for mass transit is vital to shifting away from new road construction – it’s vital to substantially decreasing oil dependence Nelder, 2009 - Chris Nelder is an energy analyst and consultant who has written about energy and investing for more than a decade (“Is Obama's Infrastructure Plan Built to Last?,” Energy & Capital, 1/14, It is abundantly clear to me, as it is to any student of peak oil or anybody who has read my column or my books, that rail is the obvious priority for the future of transportation. Rail is by far the cheapest and most fuel-efficient form of transport, requiring about a third less fuel than air for personal travel, and as little as 3% of the energy for freight. Yet, our current rail system is a joke compared to the rest of the developed world. As James Howard Kunstler has remarked, even Bulgaria would be ashamed of our rail system. Destinations are limited, especially in the West, and most of the trains run on diesel. Our fastest train, Amtra k's Acela, only does about 100 mph on its short run from Boston to D.C., less than half the speed of modern high -speed trains elsewhere. If we really intend to have an infrastructure that survives peak oil, we have to transform it to run on renewably generated electricity. We also have to expand it massively and take millions of cars and transport trucks off the road. Doing so would probably cost trillions of dollars and would be worth every penny. For example, a high -speed rail corridor for the Northeast would run about $32 billion. Laying high-speed rail between the major cities of California would cost north of $40 billion. So far, however, I have seen little suggestion of such an ambitious transformation. The funding package approved in October by Congress would grant a paltry $13 billion to passenger rail over five years, of which three-fourths would go to Amtrak. Another $5 billion is currently proposed by the House transportation and infrastructure committee for intercity rail. That's not transformation spending; that's barely better than maintenance spending. In fact, despite Obama's pledge to devote fun...
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