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Southron

Passenger Rail in Alabama

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With a new President (and a VP who rides Amtrak almost daily) taking office in January, maybe we can get some big rail projects going in Alabama. High speed rail (or just passenger rail of any kind) along the I-65 corridor needs to be implemented sooner rather than later, as well as more connections to major cities in neighboring states.

The time is now to get funding for these projects, while we have an administration that supports them. We'll really have to push our in-state politicians, though, to get them to support anything other than highways.

California voted to fund a bullet train program this year. If the most car-centric state in the Union can do it, so can we. Our fellow Southern state North Carolina is actively developing a passenger rail program. So why can't we? We can't afford to risk our economic future by insisting on an automobile-only transportation system.

Thoughts? What passenger rail connections do our Big 4 have now and what additional connections are needed?

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Linked below are good examples of the predicament that we're in with any form of transportation not involving the automobile. Compare ALDOT's rail section web page to the website of North Carolina's NCDOT Rail Division. It's obvious that ALDOT doesn't care at all about intercity rail transportation, and this primitive 1995-ish web page with no useful information makes this crystal clear.

ALDOT Rail

NCDOT Rail Division and future service

It's also disappointing that there is very little about Alabama in the following 2007 federal document concerning intercity rail through 2050, and I suspect that a lack of effort or concern from (ALDOT and our state politicians) is largely to blame. We need a governor to appoint an ALDOT director that will clean out the cobwebs in that agency and get something done besides subsidize the road builders who contribute to certain political campaigns.

Vision for the Future: U.S. Intercity Passenger Rail Network Through 2050 - IntercityRail2050.pdf

IntercityRail2050.pdf

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Well Southron, we have to realize that people are just much to blame in this state as the leadership because they either to apathetic to vote or consistently reelecting the same "do-nothing" politicos. Also as both of us realize, Alabama is a state that seems to have apprehension towards progressive ideas and change in general. Honestly, I doubt any major efforts towards progressive measure such as intercity and high-speed rail here before 2030 at the earliest.

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Well Southron, we have to realize that people are just much to blame in this state as the leadership because they either to apathetic to vote or consistently reelecting the same "do-nothing" politicos. Also as both of us realize, Alabama is a state that seems to have apprehension towards progressive ideas and change in general. Honestly, I doubt any major efforts towards progressive measure such as intercity and high-speed rail here before 2030 at the earliest.

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I think the best approach might be a regional one. Why not create a commission to study a light-rail system which could create hubs in, say, Birmingham, Mobile, Montgomery, Memphis, Jackson, New Orleans, Atlanta and so forth. Long-distance trains aren't going to attract much demand, but the idea of funding fast trains for shorter routes might be more attractive. The South must overcome its reluctance to fund rail projects. Perhaps it can be a leader in this regard.

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I think the best approach might be a regional one. Why not create a commission to study a light-rail system which could create hubs in, say, Birmingham, Mobile, Montgomery, Memphis, Jackson, New Orleans, Atlanta and so forth.

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Current Amtrak service in Alabama:

The Crescent provides service from New Orleans to New York City, with stops in Tuscaloosa, Birmingham and Anniston.

The Sunset Limited provides service from Los Angeles to Orlando, with stops in Mobile and Atmore. However, service east of New Orleans has been suspended since 2005 due to hurricane damage.

According to historical information on the SHSRC site, Amtrak operated the Gulf Breeze from Birmingham through Montgomery to Mobile between 1989 and 1995, but service was cancelled due to Amtrak budget cuts.

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Current Amtrak service in Alabama:

The Crescent provides service from New Orleans to New York City, with stops in Tuscaloosa, Birmingham and Anniston.

The Sunset Limited provides service from Los Angeles to Orlando, with stops in Mobile and Atmore. However, service east of New Orleans has been suspended since 2005 due to hurricane damage.

According to historical information on the SHSRC site, Amtrak operated the Gulf Breeze from Birmingham through Montgomery to Mobile between 1989 and 1995, but service was cancelled due to Amtrak budget cuts.

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Actually, the story is much worse than what's mentioned in the little AP blurb linked above. Alabama is behind in organization dues, but more importantly, has not funded a study of the New Orleans-to-Atlanta route through Alabama. Without the study, the proposal may lose out on potential stimulus funds that could have a 125 mph train operational within three years. This is absolutely ridiculous and the entire leadership team at ALDOT should be permanently fired. Shame on the governor for not making the future of our transportation system a priority.

Alabama accused of blocking high-speed rail plan

Funding derails high-speed trains in Alabama

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Actually, the story is much worse than what's mentioned in the little AP blurb linked above. Alabama is behind in organization dues, but more importantly, has not funded a study of the New Orleans-to-Atlanta route through Alabama. Without the study, the proposal may lose out on potential stimulus funds that could have a 125 mph train operational within three years. This is absolutely ridiculous and the entire leadership team at ALDOT should be permanently fired. Shame on the governor for not making the future of our transportation system a priority.

Alabama accused of blocking high-speed rail plan

Funding derails high-speed trains in Alabama

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All non roadway-oriented transportation projects are forwarded to ADECA rather than ALDOT.

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That's insane. ALDOT isn't in the highway business, it's in the transportation business - all forms of transportation. It's time to clean house at ALDOT and get rid of the hillbilly highway-only mentality once and for all. I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for that to happen though.

Governor Riley directed ADECA to begin paying the commission dues, so at least there is hope that the needed study may get funded. According to the article below, about $700,000 is needed to match a $1.3 million grant for the study.

Governor Riley agrees to pay dues to high-speed rail commission

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Now this ironic, on April 11, the Birmingham City Council decided to take up a resolution that would allocate city funds towards funding the Southern High-Speed Rail Corridor. Also they want to figure out a way so the City can tap into the federal funds allocated for intercity rail, i.e., the regional rail system. Finally, Mayor Langford is also coordinating a venture/partnership that would form a "Mid-South High Speed Rail Commission" amongst the cities of Memphis, Atlanta, New Orleans, Birmingham, Mobile, Anniston, Meridian, Biloxi, Gulfport and Tuscaloosa on April 30.

It looks like either somebody was reading the site and noticed what I said or was thinking what I was notioning towards. LOL

http://birmingham.bizjournals.com/birmingh...06/daily38.html

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