High speed rail...
I spent the day at a high speed rail summit in downtown Raleigh today. Experts from around the nation converged to talk about the future of that type of rail in the nation and here in North Carolina in particular.
An interesting note is rail moves around 80mph now and high speed is technically 90mph or higher.
Transportation leaders are pushing the issue to ease traffic and air congestion. For instance, from Raleigh to Charlotte a high speed trip would take 2 1/2 hours or less compared to more than 3 hours now. High speed would allow stops in the Triad and would create twice as many trips as there are now.
Keep in mind high speed concentrates on trips between cities and light rail is more of a city or community transportation option.
The problem with both is $$$$. High speed means money for new tracks that can handle high speed and the trains themselves.
We taped an entire show there for Political Connections so keep an eye out for that this weekend.
Bottom line, DOT leaders said today planning will take until 2010 and then once funding is secured it will take 3-5 years to build. That means best case scenario, 2013 for the first high speed rail in NC.